Tom Parker, singer in the British boyband The Wanted, has died at the age of 33.
His wife Kelsey Hardwick wrote on Instagram: "Our hearts are broken." The pair had two young children together.
Tom had been diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma - a cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. Glioblastomas are grade 4 brain tumours and are sometimes called glioblastoma multiforme, GBM, GBM4 or a grade 4 astrocytoma.
Glioblastomas are a type of glioma, which is a brain tumour that grows from a glial cell and are considered the most aggressive tumour that can form in the brain.
What are the symptoms of glioblastomas?
The symptoms of glioblastoma can vary from person to person and there is a lot overlap with other conditions. However, symptoms may include:
- Personality changes
- Memory difficulties
- Communication difficulties
- Sight problems
Tom’s condition was detected after he had several unexplained seizures. He revealed his diagnosis to his fans in October 2020.
The singer had appeared to have experienced an improvement last year, commenting to reporters: "I think with this disease you get quite a natural decline, but if anything it seems to be on the incline. I feel a lot better than I did a couple of months ago. ”Unfortunately, in recent weeks, his health declined. His Instagram account recently featured a picture of him sitting in a wheelchair.
According to the website of Queen Square Radiosurgery Centre, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), the world's first hospital to specialise in neurosciences, Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain and other central nervous system tumours, accounting for 47.7% of all cases.
Patients have a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after their diagnosis, according to figures. The average lifespan is between 14 and 16 months.
Developing glioblastoma in one’s 30s is very unusual. It is most commonly found in men aged 50 to 60.
Unlike other types of brain cancer which are more specifically located, glioblastoma can occur in any part of the brain.
- fast growing
- diffuse – meaning they have threadlike tendrils that extend into other parts of the brain
- likely to spread within the brain
- may come back, even if intensively treated
Can Glioblastoma be treated?
Although Glioblastoma is very difficult to cure, treatment can slow progression and ease symptoms.
Treatment options for Glioblastoma:
- Surgery to remove the glioblastoma, although complete removal isn't usually possible. It is not always an option for everyone
- Radiation therapy including Gamma Knife and Cyberknife
- Chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy to kill cancer cells
- Clinical trials exploring novel and innovative treatments
- Supportive (palliative) care which is treatment focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Before Tom died, he wrote a book which will be published in July. Speaking a few weeks ago, Tom commented:
‘It's a book about living. It's a book about finding hope in whatever situation you're dealt, and living your best life no matter what. It will show you how having faith in hope and daring to dream means you can carry on, against all odds.'