“Tiny Pretty Things” actor Barton Cowperthwaite revealed he’s been diagnosed with “at least” a stage 2 cancerous glioma.
The 31-year-old said an Instagram post Nov. 10 that the brain cancer is a result of a “fairly decent sized brain tumor.” He said the cells originated in the brain, “so it’s not spread from a cancer anywhere else in the body.”
“The only course of treatment for something like this is brain surgery,” he wrote in the post. “Docs so far have been confident that they’ll be able to remove most of the tumor, and that after a successful operation, and some rehab, I will be operating like my (amazing, talented, brilliant, hilarious) self.”
Cowperthwaite continued, explaining that scans and check-ups will likely become a routine part of his life for its “lengthy remainder.”
“My family and I are taking several days to get second opinions. Planning to go into surgery middle or end of next week. I’ll do my best to be open about the journey on here. I am planning on fully bouncing back to be better than my former glory! Please feel free to reach out and I’ll do my best to stay connected with as many people as I can.”
He signed off with, “All my love,” and included a blue heart emoji, as well as three photos. In the first, the actor smiled in a hospital gown and threw up a peace sign, while showing his brain scans in the other two shots.
What is a glioma?
Glioma is a growth of cells that starts in the brain or spinal cord, eventually forming into a tumor, according to Mayo Clinic.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that about 33% of all brain tumors are gliomas.
There are several types of glioma, some of which are considered cancerous or malignant and grow quickly, sometimes invading brain tissue, the clinic reports. Benign or non-cancerous gliomas typically develop slowly.
Depending on the type of glioma — astrocytoma, ependymoma, glioblastoma and oligodendroglioma — some are more likely to occur in adults while others in children.
Johns Hopkins Medicine noted that symptoms may manifest slowly and subtly at first, while some patients with gliomas experience no symptoms.
According to Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine, common signs and symptoms of gliomas include the following:
- Headache, particularly one that hurts the most in the morning
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or a decline in brain function, such as problems with thinking and understanding information
- Memory loss
- Personality changes or irritability
- Weakness in the arms, face or legs
- Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
- Speech difficulties
- Seizures, especially in individuals who haven’t had seizures before
In a follow-up video Nov. 11, Cowperthwaite said that he’s had “several seizures” over the past eight weeks, the last of which took him to the emergency room where doctors performed a scan.
The testing showed an “abnormality” and a subsequent MRI revealed a “lemon-sized” glioma in his right frontal lobe, he said.
Brain tumors are categorized into four grades, with gliomas traditionally considered “low grade,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Treatment depends on the tumor’s location, potential symptoms and potential benefits as opposed to the risks of treatment options.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation, therapy, chemotherapy and observations.
Surgery is the most common initial treatment, Johns Hopkins noted, which requires a craniotomy, or opening of the skull.
Another surgery may need to occur to remove the tumor or to relieve pressure on the brain. Further treatments can include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.