Tom Parker, the 32-year-old British singer with former band The Wanted, has announced that he is undergoing treatment for a stage IV brain tumor known as glioblastoma.
In an announcement on Instagram, Parker said that he and his wife, Kelsey Hardwick, decided to share their experience in an in-depth interview. “Instead of hiding and trying to keep it a secret, we would have an interview where we could put all the details in and let everyone know the facts in our own way,” he said.
in the OKAY! Parker stated that he had “bizarre and unexplained seizures” for weeks during the summer. After three days of testing, Parker said, “They pulled the curtain around my bed and said, ̵
Parker is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, telling the magazine, “I still haven’t processed it.”
Parker and Hardwick have a 1-year-old daughter, Aurelia, and announced in May that they had another baby on their way. Now Hardwick is understandably having trouble processing the diagnosis. “Watching your partner do it is so difficult because how can I tell him not to let it consume him?” she said OKAY!
The Wanted’s other band members – Jay McGuiness, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George, and Nathan Sykes – have supported the couple since diagnosis. “They’re disappointed with the news, but they’ve been incredibly supportive. Jay has been with us a few times since we got the news and reads all he can, and Max was here last week,” said Parker, “Siva and Nathan obviously live a lot farther away, but all four boys texted regularly and sent out various articles and possible treatments and therapies that they all read about. “
“We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and certainty,” explained the singer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, glioblastoma is the most common type of brain tumor in people aged 18 and over. Around 14,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. It is usually aggressive and spreads quickly, although it rarely spreads outside the brain. It’s most common in active, otherwise healthy men like Parker, although the average age at diagnosis is 64 years, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
In addition to seizures like Parker’s, other symptoms of glioblastoma include headache, memory problems, weakness in one side of the body, difficulty thinking and speaking, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually appear quickly out of nowhere, although they can sometimes be more gradual, says the National Cancer Institute.
While there is no cure, experts have made advances in life expectancy, which averaged 8-10 months in the 1990s and is now closer to 15-18 months, according to the National Cancer Institute. And while almost no glioblastoma patients survived five years after diagnosis in the 1990s, around 15% of patients now live five years after diagnosis.
There are few known causes of glioblastoma, although previous radiation to the central nervous system or head may be a factor, according to the National Cancer Institute. Genetic syndromes can also cause glioblastomas in rare cases, according to the National Institute of Health’s Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.
For some patients, the initial treatment is surgery, although Parker has made it clear that it was not an option for his case. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastomas typically have “finger-like tentacles that infiltrate the brain,” making them difficult to completely remove during surgery. Thereafter, radiation and chemotherapy are standard treatments. Even in surgical cases with good results, glioblastoma essentially recurs as small cancerous fragments are often left behind.
“We’ve had so many people grappling with positive stories and it’s been amazing,” wrote Parker after a pour of love followed his initial diagnosis. “We’re fighting against it,” he wrote. “Many thanks to everyone behind us who fight by our side.”