Hearing the news of Senator Ted Kennedy’s diagnosis with a brain tumor brought tears to my eyes. Two friends of mine have been diagnosed with similar tumors. One was sixty-something, the other 30-something. Both were diagnosed after experiencing dizziness, confusion, and some sort of seizure. In one case these symptoms went misdiagnosed for months. In the other, the cancer was diagnosed immediately. Both friends were told they had less than a year to live. The sixty-something man bucked the trend and lived a happy life for about four years. The other didn?t make the year.
According to the Oregon State Cancer Registry, 270 people were diagnosed with brain cancer here in 2005 (the last year that data is available), and 231 died from the disease that same year.
But at Oregon Health & Science University researchers are working hard to beat those odds. And the lengthening survival rates of patients proves that hope just might be around the corner.
When we hear about brain tumors in the news you imagine the horror of the diagnosis and the fear that it puts in people’s lives. You likely imagine surgery, and radiation and chemotherapy. But what about all the other things that can accompany the diagnosis? Depression ? personality changes? seizure management? loss of your drivers license? navigating the healthcare system? paying insurance bills? and finding the best treatment available. How do people do it all?
Have you, or someone you love, lived with cancer ? specifically a brain tumor? How did it change your life? How did the person find the best care? How do you continue life when living with a brain tumor?
Cleora Wilson: 76 year old woman from Salem who was diagnosed with malignant glioma in May 2006
Edward Neuwelt: A neuro-oncologist who is the director of the Blood Brain Barrier Program at Oregon Health & Science University. He is Cleora Wilson?s physician.
Marty Wilson: Cleora Wilson’s son. He sent an e-mail to Ted Kennedy about his mother’s condition to encourage the senator to have hope, based on his mother’s progress.