There are a few things we hear that strike fear deep in our heats, and the words, “You have a brain tumor” is one such statement. What most of us don’t know, is that a brain tumor does not necessary mean a death sentence, nor all are brain tumors malignant. Some individuals have lived long lives with brain tumors in place. Others had faced surgery and removal, while some had to deal with brain cancer from a malignant tumor. While diagnoses of a brain tumor is the first step to learning what type of tumor you have, diagnosis comes only when a person has physical changes that they question and seek medical care.
What are the changes that may prompt the need to seek medical care?
Below is a list of a few common issues, though they do not necessary mean brain tumor.
- New headaches, or a change in the location within the head of where you normally feel a headache.
- Increased severity of these headaches.
- Nausea or vomiting not related to a virus or food poison.
- Sudden onset of vision or hearing issues: loss of either or change in vision such as blurred, double or blind areas.
- Noticing issues with speech, loss of speech or slurred speech.
- Confusion, memory changes.
- Sudden onset of seizures in a person who has never had any issues with seizures.
- Personality change.
This is the time to set an appointment with a physican to discuss these changes.
If a brain tumor is diagnosesd, there are some questions you will want to ask your physician:
- What now, what kind of treatments are used for brain tumors? What are my best options?
- What are the medications, and if this is malignant, what about surgery, and or radiation and chemotherapy?
- What are the side effects of the drugs used to treat my brain tumor?
- Where is my tumor located, how will surgery effect my quality of life, what will happen if I don’t choose removal of the tumor?
- Are there any drug trials or studies that I may qualify for?
- Are there any programs where I can get help and assistance while dealing with this issue.
It may surprise you to learn that many people go on to live a normal life with only minimal medications used to shrink and control tumors. Still others face removal and recovery time that may include physical, occupational and / or speech therapy to regain lost or changed skills.
The National Brain Tumor Society was formed to help every individual dealing with a brain tumor have as much assistance and knowledge as possible. While numbers vary on the amount of individuals who are diagnosed each year with a brain tumor, the numbers run around 20,000 with 9,400 of that group being children under the age of 20. The month of May has been set aside to shed a light on the issue of brain tumors and to help spread awareness and education on the subject. For more information on brain tumors, to seek help, learn how to support those effected, or just to help spread awareness contact The National Brain Tumor Society at http://www.braintumor.org/
On a more personal note, my Mother was diagnosed eleven years ago with a non-operable, nonmalignant brain tumor. It was quickly diagnosed after her speech became unintelligible and she became confused within her own home. Despite suffering a stroke during brain surgery to do a biopsy, she has lived at home alone without assistance for most of the past eleven years. Having a brain tumor may change your life or the life of a loved one for a time, but successful living with or without the tumor is happening more and more frequently with the help of modern medicine.