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For several weeks, Cathy Galati noticed her husband, Leo, was not acting like himself. She wondered why her healthy, usually active 55-year-old spouse seemed to be “moping around.” He fell asleep as soon as he sat in a chair. Cathy didn’t know it, but Leo was also struggling at his job.
“I was tired and confused, and I couldn’t complete my projects at work,” said Leo, a finish carpenter for a millwork company. “It was embarrassing.”
At the time, early winter 2013, he was working nights doing renovations in an office building in downtown Chicago. “I apologized to the other guys on my crew,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Weeks later, on a Monday afternoon, Cathy noticed Leo’s mouth drooping on one side. Worried her husband was having a stroke, she insisted he go to the local emergency room. Doctors there gave the couple shocking news: Leo had brain cancer.
A family friend, who is a physician, recommended Leo transfer his care to the brain tumor experts at the University of Chicago Medicine. By the time Leo arrived at the medical center a few days later, results of his MRI scans had been evaluated at a neuro-oncology Tumor Board meeting.
These regular meetings bring together UChicago Medicine experts to discuss cases, share viewpoints and determine treatment plans. This multidisciplinary approach is especially valuable when the condition is complex, rare, or difficult to diagnose.
“I was tired and confused, and I couldn’t complete my projects at work."The neuroscientists suspected the cancer in Leo’s brain was primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL), a rare type of tumor that occurs when malignant lymphocytes are found in the brain, spinal cord or cerebrospinal fluid.
Cathy and Leo Galati
Left: Bright areas on an MRI scan show the tumor on both sides of Leo's brain. Right: MRI after treatment demonstrates a complete response to therapy
The University of Chicago Brain Tumor Center is at the forefront of sophisticated care for primary and metastatic tumors of the central nervous system (CNS), including brain and spinal cord tumors.Learn more about brain and spinal cord tumor care at UChicago Medicine
Justin Kline, MD, is a hematologist/oncologist who specializes in treating leukemia and lymphoma. He has a special interest in stem cell transplantation and is conducting research into overcoming the barriers to immune resistance mechanisms in tumors.Learn more about Justin Kline, MD
Internationally renowned neurosurgeon Peter Warnke, MD, has performed more than 5,000 stereotactic surgeries and more than 2,000 brain tumor surgeries. Dr. Warnke provides neurosurgical care for the treatment of adults and children with movement disorders, epilepsy and brain tumors.Read Dr. Warnke's physician bio