Michael Strahan announces daughter was diagnosed with brain tumor

Michael Strahan’s 19-year-old daughter Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the two announced together on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

In an interview with Michael Strahan’s co-anchor Robin Roberts, Michael and Isabella Strahan said that the diagnosis came in late October, and she has since undergone emergency surgery and radiation.

“It’s been, like, two months of keeping it quiet, which is definitely difficult,” Isabella Strahan said. “I don’t wanna hide it anymore ‘cause it’s hard to always keep in.”

Isabella Strahan said she began noticing symptoms in the fall, during the start of her freshman year at the University of Southern California. She developed headaches and nausea and couldn’t walk straight around Oct. 1, she said, and initially thought she might have vertigo. Then on Oct. 25, she vomited blood.

Doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles discovered a 4-centimeter tumor — larger than a golf ball — in the back of her brain. She was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a rare type of brain cancer that most often affects children ages 5 to 9.

Up to 75% of children with medulloblastoma survive into adulthood when treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Isabella Strahan underwent surgery on Oct. 27, the day before her 19th birthday, followed by a month of rehabilitation. She told “Good Morning America” that she just finished proton therapy, a type of radiation that uses proton beams rather than X-rays to attack cancer cells.

“I got to ring the bell yesterday,” she said. “It was great. It was very exciting because it’s been a long 30 sessions — six weeks.”

Michael Strahan was absent from “Good Morning America” for nearly three weeks in the fall, at the time citing “personal family matters.” The former NFL player also took a two-week leave from his role as an analyst for “Fox NFL Sunday,” then returned in mid-November.

On Thursday, he said his daughter’s diagnosis has given him a new perspective.

“You learn that you’re probably not as strong as you thought you were when you have to really think about the real things,” he said on “Good Morning America.” “I realized that I need support from everybody. You think that I’m, you know, the athlete, the tough guy, you know — I can come and handle, I’m the father in the family. It is not about any of that. It doesn’t matter.”

Isabella Strahan said she will start chemotherapy in February at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Durham, North Carolina. After that, she plans to move back to California and return to college, she said. She also launched a YouTube channel to document her cancer journey.

“I just hope anyone who sees this knows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that things will get better,” she said in the series’ first episode Thursday. “Every day is another day closer to getting better.”