Hutch News Stories

Surviving a childhood brain cancer

Jason Flatt, pictured with his fiancee
Jason Flatt, pictured here with his fiancee, went through treatment for astrocytoma as a child and had to relearn how to walk and talk. Photo courtesy Jason Flatt

I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. I grew up in a small town outside of Raleigh called Youngsville. I seemed normal as a kid: Played sports. Got into trouble. Things all kids do.

At 10 years of age, I started having balance issues. I started throwing up once a week. My parents took me to the doctor's office. They always misdiagnosed me. They would say "It's a virus." Or, "it's just inner ear."

I was told later in life that a small-town doctor's officer usually never treats a person with brain cancer.

On July 18, 1995, the doctors at Wake Forest Family Physicians ran a CT scan. They found a huge mass and rushed me to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I was diagnosed with an astrocytoma. Editor’s note: Astrocytoma is a type of brain cancer that forms in brain cells called astrocytes.

I spend weeks in the hospital and weeks later at Lennox Baker Children's Hospital at Duke. I had to learn everything again: how to talk, how to walk, even how to put on my socks. I went through three rounds of chemotherapy and several surgeries.

I believe prayer, fish oil and exercise play a huge role in someone's recovery. Nearly 25 years later, I am alive and well in Cookeville, Tennessee. I have a house and a beautiful fiancee named Nora. We have a beagle named Muffin and a cat named Amber.

Jason's story was featured on a local news broadcast, viewable on YouTube.

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Last Modified, October 28, 2019