“When you have a brain tumour it never ends well. No one can predict how soon it might grow back. You’re dealt the hand your given, then you have to play it the best you can,” said Anthony.
Last January, after having a seizure Anthony was taken to Frankston hospital for a computerized tomography (CT) scan. The doctors saw what they suspected to be a tumour, and he was sent to The Alfred for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
Anthony and his family met with Alfred’s head of Neurosurgery A/Prof Martin Hunn, who delivered the lifechanging news - the MRI scan confirmed he had a brain tumour, called an oligodendroglioma.
“Professor Hunn said, you have a couple of options, you can do nothing, have chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or we can operate followed by those treatments. If we operate, you can be asleep, or we can do it while you’re awake,” said Anthony.
“He said if I was awake, they stood a better chance of getting more of the tumour out. He told me to go away and to think about it with my family, my immediate response was if being awake gives you the best chances of removing more, then I don’t need to think about it. I’ll have it awake - you do your best work, then I’ll do mine.”
Less than two months later, on March 25 last year, Anthony underwent an awake brain surgery called a craniotomy, to remove as much of the tumour as possible. This was followed by 10-11 months of chemotherapy.
Anthony donated a sample of the tumour that was removed to The Alfred Brain Data Biobank for future researchers to use in their search for a cure - but he wanted to do more.
Anthony has always wanted to do a bike ride from Melbourne to Townsville, but since receiving the news he’s decided to ride from Tidal River to Cape Tribulation. So, next April with the support of his wife Arlene driving their Kombi Van, Anthony is planning to embark on a sponsored 4000km bike ride and donate the funds he raises to brain cancer research at The Alfred.
“Rather than riding it just for fun, hopefully some good will come of it – probably not for me, but for others in the future, with the development of new drugs and treatments,” said Anthony.
Anthony is among the 1,879 Australians who received the devastating diagnosis of brain cancer last year alone. Brain cancer kills more people under 40 than any other cancer and the outlook for this disease had not improved over the last decade. May is brain cancer awareness month - but every day, our teams and researchers are dedicated to finding better outcomes for patients.