May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month! During the month of May, millions of individuals across the Globe “Go Grey for May” in support of Loved Ones who are or have suffered from brain cancer. Grey is the colour of the Brain Cancer Awareness Ribbon.
Show YOUR support for all our Little Fighters battling Brain Cancer by turning your Facebook pages GREY during the month of May (you will find some covers and profile pics you are welcome to use on our FB Page.)
Few challenges can compare to dealing with the news that a child in your family has a brain tumour. The emotional burden can seem beyond anyone’s ability to cope, and there are very difficult decisions involved in coming to terms with the diagnosis.
Brain cancer survival rates are low and have hardly changed for 30 years, despite significant increases in survival for other cancers. Treatment is challenging because it affects our most vital organ. Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer, yet only receives a small fraction of government cancer research funding.
Relative five-year survival for brain cancer has hardly changed for 30 years, increasing less than 2% between the periods of 1984-1988 and 2009-2013. Only two in ten people diagnosed with brain cancer will survive for at least five years. Between 1982 and 2014, brain cancer incidence and mortality trends showed little change.
Brain Tumours – Quick Facts
Types of Brain Tumours
Brain Tumours are either Primary or Metastatic (Secondary)
- Primary Brain Tumours are those which originate in the brain.
- Metastatic (Secondary) Brain Tumours are those which originate from cancerous cells that have migrated from other areas of the body. Metastatic brain Tumours are also known as secondary brain Tumours.
Not all brain tumours are cancerous; benign brain tumours are non-cancerous tissue and are harmful only when they grow to a size which affects adjacent areas of the brain. Benign brain tumours tend to grow more slowly than malignant (cancerous) brain tumours.
Brain Tumour Warning Signs
Raising awareness of brain Tumours includes educating the public on the warning signs of brain Tumours. In approximately 30-40% of cases the first warning sign of a brain Tumour is a seizure.
Early Warning Signs include:
• Fatigue, tiredness and drowsiness
• Impaired speech
• Difficulties when swallowing
• In infants, an increase in head size
• Impaired vision
• Poor body co-ordination
• Behavioural and mood changes
• Weakness in a limb or on one side of the body
• Difficulties with balance
• Tingling sensations and/or weakness in the arms or legs
Treating Brain Tumours
Because there are different types of brain tumours, treatment won’t be the same for everyone. The doctors will look at the type of brain tumour, its size and where it is in the brain before deciding on the best treatment.
Your child may need one or a combination of the following treatments:
Medicines Your Child May Need to Take
Your child may need to take medicines for a while to reduce or control the symptoms of the brain tumour:
- Steroids: Steroids reduce swelling or inflammation in the brain and so they can help with symptoms.
- Medicines that help prevent fits: These are known as anticonvulsants. They’re given if your child has had any fits (seizures).
Side Effects of Treatment for Brain Tumours
This depends on the treatment your child has and your child’s doctor and specialist nurse will explain more about what to expect. Always let them know about any side effects your child is having. Many side effects can be well controlled or made easier.
Some possible common side effects of Radiation Therapy and chemotherapy include:
• Hair loss
• Feeling sick
• Increased risk of an infection
• Skin changes in the treated area if your child is having radiation therapy
Read more about Childhood Brain Cancer HERE