Houston, TX

MD Anderson's patient shares his story of recovering from anaplastic astrocytoma

Jason Martinez


HOUSTON, TX — A cancer survivor, Jason House, shared how he recovered from anaplastic astrocytoma. Thanks to treatment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he is now free from the illness.

In 1996, when he was in his mid-20s, House began to faint regularly. The doctor advised him to see a cardiologist because they suspected that it was related to the heart. He got a heart medication prescription after being diagnosed with syncope, which is a temporary loss of consciousness due to irregular heartbeats and the drug helped him for 20 years.

About three years ago, he started fainting again. A specialist suggested House use a pacemaker. However, that didn't solve the problem. Another neurologist told him to get an MRI and it revealed that he had brain cancer in addition to having heart problems.

He contacted several major hospitals but had no success. Until finally, he decided to visit MD Anderson after his father learned about it from his neighbor and his manager at work suggested the same hospital.

When he met the neurosurgeon, Dr. Frederick Lang, at MD Anderson in February 2017, the doctor confirmed that House had a brain tumor located in a complex part of the brain called the insula. He also consulted with a neuro-oncologist, Dr. Barbara O'Brien, who also helped him find the best overall treatment plan.

To stop the tumor from growing, Dr. Lang suggested removing as much of the tumor as possible plus six weeks of daily radiation therapy after surgery and one year of chemotherapy.

On May 23, 2017, he had surgery, and about 90% of the tumor was removed without any damage to the brain tissues. A few weeks later, House received the results that indicated he had anaplastic astrocytoma, an aggressive brain cancer that spreads rapidly.

The recovery process took about two years. All of his language skills have also returned to normal. Even though he can no longer ride roller coasters, he is still grateful that he can return to full-time work.

In his spare time, House can still play softball and go fishing for bass. Every day, he expresses his gratitude to God for MD Anderson's dedication to help others like him.

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Houston-area beat writer, self-proclaimed restaurant critic

Houston, TX

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