Oligoastrocytoma Brain Tumor Affecting Seve BallesterosBy Robert Dougherty
Golf great Seve Ballesteros has been fighting a brain tumor for weeks, trying to treat it in time to save his life. Thus far, Ballesteros has undergone surgeries and treatments to detect the brain tumor and get it out. Now it seems doctors have finally been able to diagnose Ballesteros' brain tumor as oligoastrocytoma, which will need to be completely taken out in another operation.
Oligoastrocytoma is a cancerous brain tumor that attacks the brain and spinal cord's nerve cells. The oligoastrocytoma tumor caused Ballesteros to collapse in an airport on October 6, as he has been treated for the tumor ever since.
A surgery on October 16 took out a large part of Ballesteros's oligoastrocytoma tumor, but parts are left in a deep portion of the brain. A new surgery on Friday will be needed to take out those remaining sections, and to relieve the swelling and bleeding in Ballesteros's brain.
Oligoastrocytoma is a rare case of brain cancer that can cause headaches, seizures and changes in the motor system. It can be treated, but chemotherapy and radiation treatments will still be needed afterwards. But a surgery to remove oligoastrocytoma does not guarantee that the condition will not recur.
Young adults are more likely to get the disease, although Ballesteros is in his 50's. But that works against him as the prognosis is more dangerous for those in later years.
Survival time is relative in cases of oligoastrocytoma, so it will likely not be known for a while if Ballesteros is in any immediate danger. But those with oligoastrocytoma have a better than average chance of living more than 5 years, with a 25% of more chance of living past 10 years.
The oligoastrocytoma tumor is rated on a scale of one to four on how dangerous it is. The grade of Ballesteros's tumor is unknown and was not revealed by the hospital.
The surgery needed to remove the remaining oligoastrocytoma from the brain is reported to be "very complex" and difficult. Ballesteros is still in stable condition as preparations begin.
Seve Ballesteros comes through brain surgery
La Paz hospital said were no complications from the surgery. Spanish state news agency Efe reported the operation lasted 12 hours.
The hospital said a sizable part of the Spaniard's tumor was removed. It was not immediately known if it was malignant and it would be several days before the results were announced.
"At the moment he is conscious and stable, although he will not be able to receive any visitors in the coming days until he has recovered from the surgical process," the hospital said in a statement.
The hospital said Ballesteros was in the intensive care unit. It said there would be no further statements about him until he is moved from the unit, most likely next week.
Ballesteros, winner of three British Opens and two Masters, briefly lost consciousness and was admitted Oct. 6 to the hospital, where the tumor was discovered. On Monday, he acknowledged having a tumor and said he faced the "hardest challenge of my life."
Ballesteros, who won a record 50 tournament on the European tour, retired last year because of a long history of back pain and has since concentrated on golf course design.
Ballesteros transformed European golf. When the Ryder Cup was expanded to include continental Europe in 1979, Ballesteros helped beat the United States in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. He also captained Europe to victory in 1997 at Valderrama, Spain.
Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain are the most formidable partnership in Ryder Cup history, with 11 wins, two losses and two halves.