More awareness, funding needed in fight against glioblastoma

After being dealt a devastating blow, Paul Dewar fought his battle against brain cancer with grace.

“I told you that I thought my illness was a gift and I genuinely meant that. In this time in between, I got to see the wonder of the world around us,” Dewar wrote in his farewell Facebook post.

Dewar died Wednesday after being diagnosed with glioblastoma in early 2018.

“It is the hardest type of tumour to treat, it grows the fastest,” says Dr. James Perry, a neuro-oncologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

An estimated 1,000 Canadians are diagnosed with glioblastoma every year.

“Surgery is getting safer, radiation techniques are getting safer and they’re getting smarter so we’re able to keep people alive longer with our existing techniques and help them enjoy better quality of life…but by not having any new drug therapies available to us in the clinic it really does limit the ability to move things forward,” Dr. Perry says.

Glioblastoma also took the lives of several high-profile people in recent years including Gord Downie, U.S. Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy, and Beau Biden.

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada says by Dewar sharing his story, the awareness brings new hope.

“It will raise awareness about the devastating disease, of brain tumours, and will bring hope for research and funding for research I’m sure,” says Susan Marshall, CEO of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

“He’s [Dewar] made a huge impact on all of us and been very inspirational,” Marshall says.