John Ashker is no stranger to dangerous situations

March 31, 2014
As a professional Hollywood Stunt man, his typical work day might include exchanging punches in a bar brawl, being hit by a charging car or escaping from a burning building In his spare time, he races motorcycles. So when doctors diagnosed him with the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor, glioblastoma (GBM), he didn’t panic. Less than 30 percent of patients diagnosed with GBM survive more than one year. To improve John’s prognosis, specialists at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center recommended neurosurgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. According to John’s Radiation Oncologist, Rex Hoffman, MD, medical studies have demonstrated that, on average, patients with GBM have a 26 percent chance of surviving two years or more when receiving both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, compared to 10 percent with radiation therapy alone. Ashker’s surgery resulted in complete removal of the tumor, but John initially refused additional therapies after reading about the possible side effects. Ashker carefully considered the advice of his physicians and agreed to be treated with recommended therapies. He also integrated complementary therapies, which he firmly believes helped fend off the cancer. More than four years after his initial diagnosis, Ashker is cancer free and living life to the fullest. “Everything I read said it couldn’t be cured. But, I look at every situation as though there’s something I can do to make it better.”