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What is medulloblastoma? As Michael Strahan's teen daughter reveals brain tumor diagnosis

The GMA host is a father to four children 

Michael Strahan's daughter Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumor
Hannah Hargrave
US Deputy Editor
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Michael Strahan's teenage daughter, Isabella, has revealed her battle with a brain tumor in an emotional interview with her famous dad. 

The 19-year-old sat alongside Michael in a segment on Good Morning America on Thursday where they spoke candidly about her struggles.

But what is medulloblastoma? What are the symptoms and what does this mean for her future?

What is medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma is a cancerous brain tumor that starts in the lower back part of the brain. According to Mayo Clinic: "Though medulloblastoma is rare, it's the most common cancerous brain tumor in children.

"It begins as a growth of cells, which is called a tumor. The cells grow quickly and can spread to other parts of the brain." The cells can spread "through the fluid that surrounds and protects your brain and spinal cord".

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What are the symptoms of medulloblastoma?

Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumor one month after she began getting headaches in October 2023.

She told Robin Roberts, who was conducting the interview with her and her dad, that she "definitely noticed headaches, nausea," and confessed she "couldn't walk straight."

Michael Strahan with daughters and girlfriend Kayla Quick © Instagram/Michael Strahan
Michael Strahan with daughters and girlfriend Kayla Quick

She thought she had vertigo, but when she began "throwing up blood" Isabella was urged to seek medical attention. 

Other symptoms of medulloblastoma include, but are not limited to dizziness, double vision, nausea, headaches, tiredness, vomiting, unsteady to walk and poor coordination. 

isabella strahan red mini dress college roommates
Isabella had just started a new life at college when she got her diagnosis

What is the treatment for a brain tumor in a child?

Doctors were eager to move quickly after her diagnosis. Following an MRI that confirmed she had a fast-growing four-centimeter tumor, bigger than a golf ball, in the back of her brain, she was rushed for surgery to remove the mass.

Isabella had to learn to walk again, with the help of her twin sister Sophia, and underwent a month of rehabilitation and several rounds of radiation to kill the cancer cells too. 

Isabella and Sophia Strahan pout for photo© Instagram
Isabella has been supported by her twin sister Sophia

"So I just finished radiation therapy, which is proton radiation, and I got to ring the bell yesterday," she said during her interview on GMA. "It was great. It was very exciting because it's been a long 30 sessions, six weeks."

Next month she will also start chemotherapy, which uses medicines to kill cancer cells, and says: "I'm ready for it to start and be one day closer to being over."

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She'll undergo chemotherapy at Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center in Durham, North Carolina, but hopes to return to USC when she's recovered to continue her studies in California. 

"I'm looking forward to getting back to college and moving back to California and just starting my school experience over. Not over, but just restarting, being back into a routine and something that's enjoyable," she said.

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