How a Williamsport man continues to keep brain cancer at bay

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Patients who are diagnosed with the malignant tumor are often given a life expectancy measured in months and not years.

But a local man is managing to defy the odds.

“I certainly believe that this is contributing to my overall improving health,” said Scott Rider, glioblastoma patient.

What 62-year-old Scott Rider credits for outlasting his glioblastoma diagnosis is what is connected to his shaved scalp. It is called Optune.

“I wear it pretty much 24/7. I have it, I can take it off to let my scalp heal a little bit and of course for a shower and things like that,” said Rider.

When we first met Mr. Rider a year earlier, he demonstrated how Optune works through patches of electrodes he wears on his head. Optune creates low intensity, wave-like electric fields called tumor treating fields delivered by transducer arrays which pinpoint where the glioblastoma tumor is located.

“And these arrays produce a beam, pulse if you will, back and forth. Constantly.” said Rider.

The electric fields disrupt cancer cells which try to divide and spread throughout the brain. After undergoing brain surgery in 2017 to remove as much of the tumor as possible, Mr. Rider was given 19 to 24 months to live. Now at 40 months and counting, the goal is to use Optune to shrink the tumor. While that has not happened, the glioblastoma has not grown.

“The key word here is stable and that’s the big takeout from all of this. The takeaway is stable,” said Rider.

We had one more question for Mr. Rider, what is his message for other glioblastoma patients?

“It is a diagnosis that cannot simply be overcome but you can deal with it. I am not going to let it hinder me. I do not just sit in a chair and feel sorry for myself. I am gonna, I have got a lot of life to live yet,” said Rider.

Mr. Rider believes exercising and staying active are also key to his survival. He says he walks regularly and occasionally rides a bike, and in the winter he likes to ski. And he does all of these activities wearing his Optune device.

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