Brain Tumor Awareness Month
May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about brain tumors, their symptoms, and the need for more research to find better treatments and cures. Brain tumors can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender, and can have a significant impact on the lives of those diagnosed and their loved ones.
At UHAPO, we believe that education and awareness are key to fighting this disease. So, today we will share some important facts about brain tumors and their impact on patients and families.
What is a Brain Tumor?
A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in the brain or central nervous system. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on its location and size that includes headaches, seizures, memory loss, difficulty speaking or understanding language, and changes in mood or behavior.
Signs and Symptoms
Brain tumors can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on their size, location, and rate of growth. Some brain tumors may not cause any symptoms at first, while others may cause a range of symptoms that worsen over time if not detected early. Here are some common signs and symptoms of brain tumors –
- Headaches – Headaches are a common symptom of brain tumors, especially those located in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. The headaches may be persistent, dull, or severe, and may cause an increase in pain.
- Seizures – Seizures can occur when a brain tumor irritates or compresses the brain tissue. The types of seizures can vary depending on the location of the tumor.
- Nausea and vomiting – These symptoms can occur due to increased pressure in the brain or as a side effect of treatment.
- Vision problems – Vision problems can occur if the tumor is located near the optic nerve or the parts of the brain that control vision. This can include blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision.
- Weakness or numbness – These symptoms can occur if the tumor is located near the parts of the brain that control movement or sensation. This can include weakness or numbness on one side of the body resulting in difficulty with coordination.
- Changes in speech or hearing – These symptoms can occur if the tumor is located near the parts of the brain that control speech or hearing.
- Changes in mood or personality – These symptoms can occur if the tumor is located in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain, which control the mood and behavior of a person.
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has a brain tumor. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is necessary to see a doctor to determine the cause.
Brain tumors are classified based on the type of cells which they originate from, as well as their location in the brain. Here are some of the common types of brain tumors and their associated risk factors –
- Gliomas – These tumors originate from glial cells, which are supportive cells in the brain. Risk factors include a family history of gliomas, exposure to ionizing radiation, and certain genetic disorders.
- Meningiomas – These tumors develop from the meninges, the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Risk factors include female gender, older age, and exposure to ionizing radiation.
- Pituitary tumors – These tumors develop in the pituitary gland, a small gland in the brain that controls hormone production. Risk factors include certain genetic disorders, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).
- Schwannomas – These tumors develop from Schwann cells, which are cells that form the protective sheath around nerves. Risk factors include a family history of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a genetic disorder that increases the risk of schwannomas.
- Medulloblastomas – These tumors develop in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement and balance. The common risk factors include exposure to ionizing radiation, certain genetic disorders, and a family history of medulloblastomas.
The treatment options for brain tumors vary depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. Common treatment options for brain tumors include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, a combination of these treatments may be used to achieve the best possible outcome.
- Surgery – Surgery is one of the primary treatments for brain tumors, depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging nearby healthy brain tissue.
- Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy is a common treatment for brain tumors, particularly if the tumor is difficult to remove with surgery or if the tumor has returned after previous treatment. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing. The radiation oncologist will determine the best course of treatment based on the type, size, and location of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It is sometimes used in the treatment of brain tumors, either alone or in combination with other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.
Support for Patients and Families
A brain tumor diagnosis can be overwhelming and can impact not only the patient but their loved ones as well. It is important for patients and families to have access to support services, including counseling, support groups, and resources to help manage the emotional and practical aspects of living with a brain tumor.
UHAPO is committed to supporting patients and families affected by brain tumors. We provide various services and resources to help patients and families navigate their diagnosis and treatment, including access to clinical trials, expert care teams, and support services.
Research and Advances in Treatment
Research is critical to finding better treatments and a cure for brain tumors. UHAPO is actively involved in research to improve our understanding of brain tumors and develop new therapies to improve patient outcomes.
In recent years, there have been significant advances in treating brain tumors, including new targeted therapies and immunotherapies. These treatments have shown promise in improving outcomes for patients with certain types of brain tumors and are being studied in clinical trials to evaluate their effectiveness in medical care.
Brain Tumor Awareness Month is an important opportunity to raise awareness about this disease and its impact on patients and families. At UHAPO, we are committed to providing expert care, support, and resources to those affected by brain tumors. We also recognize the importance of research in finding better treatments that can ultimately result in a cure for brain tumors. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by this life-threatening disease.
Cancer Survivor Testimonial
Testimonial of a Bladder Cancer Survivor
My name is Shaurya, and I’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer in my early 60s, which shocked me and my whole family. I had blood in my urine and was experiencing some discomfort in my bladder, but I never suspected it was cancer.
After some diagnostic tests and consultations, my oncology doctor stated that I’m diagnosed with Stage 1 Bladder cancer and she advised undergoing surgery for the removal of the bladder tumor.
It was a challenging time of my life, but I was lucky to have a supportive family and a healthcare team throughout my journey.
Later, after the surgery, I underwent several rounds of chemotherapy to ensure that all the cancer cells were eliminated. The procedures were not so easy to cope with but I focused on my recovery and took things one day at a time. I also made some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, and doing an exercise routine.
It took me a whole lot of months to fully recover from cancer. Today, I am cancer-free and grateful for every day that I get to spend with my family and friends. Although the road may not have been easy for me, I want fellow bladder cancer survivors to know they are not on this path alone. You can beat this illness and lead a happy life with the proper care, right treatment, and support.
My cancer experience has taught me the value of early detection and regular check-ups. So, I hope with this I can raise awareness to the masses about bladder cncer by encouraging others to seek medical attention if they notice any changes or symptoms of cancer.
Surviving Brain Cancer: Muskan’s Story of Resilience and Hope
My name is Muskan, and I’ve been diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 36 years. It was a shock to me and my family. I had no history of cancer in my family, and I was living a healthy lifestyle. But cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time.
My treatment involved a series of expensive procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It was a tough journey, but I was very fortunate to have a great support system of family, friends, and medical professionals who helped me every step of the way. I learned that cancer not only affects the patient but also their families. At every step of the journey, my husband, parents, and siblings were there for me. They were my pillars of strength.
During treatment, I had my bad days, but I also had some worst days through which I barely coped with. But I tried to stay positive and focused on my recovery. I knew that my family needed me, and I was determined to fight cancer with all my strength. My doctors told me that staying active and engaging in enjoyable activities will help me deal with the negative effects of treatment. So, I tried experimenting with things such as making artifacts and writing my cancer journal to inspire future generations.
Today, I am doing well and always looking forward to savoring each moment. It has been five years since my diagnosis, and I am grateful for every day. Cancer has changed my perspective on life. My journey with cancer has taught me the value of hope, faith, and love. I encourage everyone to get regular check-ups and screenings because early detection can save lives.