Pilocytic Astrocytoma

Kacey Marse, 28,  displays courage as she lists her medical history: “One stroke, three brain surgeries, two eye surgeries, four shunts… .”

She talks about those challenges so nonchalantly that one would never guess this petite young lady from Luling has battled cancer since she was 7 years old. “Surgeries never scared me,” she says. “I was used to it. When you’re 7 years old, you don’t realize what’s going on.”

Kacey’s saga began with vision problems. She was diagnosed with brain cancer at 7, suffered a stroke and then a blood clot. Her patient-physician relationship with neurosurgeon Frank Culicchia, M.D. began then.

As she grew up, Kacey developed uncanny fortitude and courage. She never let her condition slow her down or diminish her sense of humor.

Finally, new medical technology provided hope of eradicating the tumor that had plagued Kacey all of her life. Kacey was left with vision impairment that took two more surgeries to correct.

“There are risks to every surgery,” Kacey explains. “The goal was to get rid of my tumor.”

“Kacey had a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, a low-grade tumor that is not as aggressive as other brain cancers, but still a cancer that can kill and disable. Kacey fought two relapses and underwent radiation and chemo. She is now disease-free,”  Culicchia says.

Today, Kacey leads a normal life and keeps herself busy with friends. She is 11 years cancer-free.

Throughout her life, she has endured 17 surgeries and procedures, retaining her optimistic and pleasant demeanor.

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