Inside Isabella Strahan’s Battle With Medulloblastoma Brain Cancer: Treatment and Updates

On January 11, 2024, TV personality and former pro football player Michael Strahan announced that his daughter Isabella Strahan was diagnosed with medulloblastoma brain cancer at the age of 19.

​Keep scrolling below to go inside Isabella’s cancer battle, from her diagnosis, to her surgery, to the latest updates on her treatment.

What Is Medulloblastoma?

Medulloblastoma is a cancerous brain tumor that is usually found in young children, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is the most common pediatric brain tumor, with estimating that 500 children per year are diagnosed with the disease in the United States.

The cancer normally begins as a growth of cells in the cerebellum and tends to spread to other areas of the brain through cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds a person’s brain and spinal cord. It typically doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, per the Mayo Clinic.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the 5-year survival rate for medulloblastoma is 72.1 percent.

When Was Isabella Strahan Diagnosed With Medulloblastoma?

Isabella was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in late October 2023 after experiencing worrying symptoms shortly after starting college at the University of Southern California.

​Isabella and her father opened up to Robin Roberts for the first time about her diagnosis in a January 11, 2024, interview on Good Morning America. ​Isabella explained that she first noticed something was “off” with her health on October 1, 2023.

At that time, Isabella said she began noticing headaches, nausea, and trouble with her balance — all common symptoms of medulloblastoma, according to the Mayo Clinic. The teen initially wrote her symptoms off as vertigo, but when she began “throwing up blood” on October 25, her family told her it was time to see a doctor.

An MRI scan conducted at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles revealed the cancerous tumor in Isabella’s brain, which doctors said was about the size of a golf ball. Michael immediately rushed to Los Angeles to be with his daughter, temporarily stepping aside from his GMA hosting duties for what he described at the time as “personal family matters.”

Inside Isabella Strahan Battle With Medulloblastoma Brain Cancer
Courtesy of Isabella Strahan/Instagram

Despite being a common form of pediatric brain cancer, medulloblastoma is rarely diagnosed in adults. According to the National Institute of Health, adult medulloblastoma is only found in 0.6 per one million people each year.

What Treatment Has Isabella Strahan Received for Medulloblastoma?

Isabella underwent emergency surgery to remove her brain tumor on October 27, 2023 — just one day before she turned 19. She then endured 30 sessions of radiation treatment over six weeks, in addition to a month of post-surgery rehabilitation.

The teen documented her completion of radiation in a vlog posted to YouTube on January 16, 2024. During the video, Isabella said she was “excited” to close that chapter of her treatment and took part in the tradition of ringing a bell to mark the occasion.

She headed to Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, in February 2024 to begin chemotherapy.

Isabella provided an update on her chemotherapy treatment in a February 21, 2024, YouTube video, describing her first week admitted to the hospital as “horrible.”

“It just felt weird getting, I don’t know, you don’t really think you’re going to get like poison put through your body,” she explained. “I don’t know, not fun. She added that she felt “achy” amid her aggressive treatment.

In a March 5, 2024, YouTube vlog, Isabella shared that she had underwent emergency brain surgery following days in the hospital with high fevers and headaches.

“I have surgery last minute now to drain fluid from the back of my head,” she said in the video. “So they’re just going to stick a needle in my head and drain it.”

What Has Isabella Strahan Said About Her Brain Cancer Diagnosis?

Despite her rare diagnosis, Isabella has remained positive, and has even found a silver lining in her treatment.

Inside Isabella Strahan Battle With Medulloblastoma Brain Cancer
Courtesy of Isabella Strahan/Instagram

“Perspective is a big thing,” she told Robin during her GMA interview. “I’m grateful. I am grateful just to walk or see friends or do something, ’cause when you can’t do something, it really impacts you.”

Isabella even kept her sunny outlook when discussing her upcoming chemotherapy, telling the outlet about her next step, “I’m very excited for this whole process to wrap. But you just have to keep living every day, I think, through the whole thing.”

Michael, who described her initial diagnosis as “scary” and as not feeling “real,” echoed his daughter’s positive sentiments.

“I literally think that, in a lot of ways, I’m the luckiest man in the world, because I’ve got an amazing daughter,” Michael told his coanchor. “I know she’s going through it, but I know that we’re never given more than we can handle and that she is going to crush this.”

He added that while he may be the “tough guy” in the family, “none of that matters” when it comes to “the real things” like his family’s health. “And it’s really made me change my perspective on so many things in my life,” the former NFL player said.

Isabella shared her plan to document her treatment in a new YouTube series for Duke Children’s Hospital after two “difficult” months of keeping her battle private.

“I don’t wanna hide it anymore ’cause it’s hard to always keep in,” she told GMA. “I hope to just kind of be a voice, and be [someone] who maybe [those who] are going through chemotherapy or radiation can look at.”

In her first Instagram post since she revealed her diagnosis, Isabella shared a series of photos of her and her twin sister, Sophia Strahan, enjoying some fun in the sun.

“In good company,” the model captioned her January 22, 2024, slide.

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