Health Alert:

Starting Feb. 29, masking is optional but encouraged in UPMC medical facilities and most patient care settings.

Matt Rogers — Glioblastoma Patient Story

Image of Matt Rogers.

In 2016, Matt Rogers, a research professor at the University of Pittsburgh, noticed a strange sensation in his leg. After feeling some dizziness a few days later, he discovered he couldn’t lift his left foot off the ground.

As someone with epilepsy, Matt went to his neurologist thinking it was a side effect of his medication, who in turn sent him to the emergency department. He left with a diagnosis of a slipped disc, but as time progressed, his symptoms got worse. A family friend who works in health care did a reflex test on him after hearing about his symptoms and recommended an MRI.

A brain scan confirmed what Matt had suspected through his own research – Glioblastoma. Almost immediately Matt was scheduled for a biopsy and was recommended to Jan Drappatz, MD, neuro-oncologist and associate director of the Adult Neuro-Oncology Program at UPMC. The glioblastoma was inoperable, so Dr. Drappatz put Matt on a treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation.

Matt underwent six weeks of daily chemotherapy with radiation five days per week, as well as anti-angiogenic therapy – tumor starving therapy to prevent growth of new blood vessels – from June to August, “The type of chemo I was on can be really harsh for some people, but thankfully for me it wasn’t that bad. The radiation, however, made me very tired.”

After a month off, he completed another 12 cycles of chemo. Since January 2017, Matt has been on anti-angiogenic therapy as well as immunotherapy, initially every two weeks, then three, and now comes every four weeks for his treatments.

Thankfully, Matt’s tumor is stable and hasn’t grown since he was first diagnosed. He is grateful for everyone at UPMC Hillman.

“I think a lot of people going to see the oncologist is an unpleasant experience, but I look forward to seeing them,” Matt said. “Dr. Drappatz, his PA Ashley, and the entire team – they’re all very personable and knowledgeable.”

Today, Matt enjoys spending time with his family and is happy to feel like his normal self again.

“I got my life back,” he said. “When I was first diagnosed, I just shut down and felt like I was living someone else’s life. Now there are days that I forget I have cancer.