May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month


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Brain tumors impact all age groups but are most commonly diagnosed in children and older adults.  Brain tumor awareness month is a time to pay tribute to those who have received a brain tumor diagnosis and join in their fight for a cure.  It is also a time to advocate and raise awareness by sharing education and resources that may help save lives, and it is a time to reflect on progress that has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors in the United States.  

Did you know over 80,000 new brain tumor diagnoses are made each year in the United States?

According to the American Brain Tumor Association and the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, approximately ⅓ of all diagnosed brain tumors are considered malignant and ⅔ nonmalignant.  Additionally, brain tumors are the most common cancer occurring in children ages 0 to 14 and account for the leading cause of cancer related deaths in children.   Although there are over 100 histologic types of brain tumors, the most common in both adults and children are: Meningiomas, Gliomas, Glioblastomas, Astrocytomas, Pituitary tumors, Lymphomas, Oligodendrogliomas and Medulloblastomas.

What are the risk factors for developing a brain tumor?

The American Brain Tumor Association states environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals, diet, level of physical activity, use of tobacco or alcohol, as well as genetic factors can potentially increase your risk for developing a brain tumor.  For more information about risk factors click here.

What are the possible signs and symptoms of a brain tumor?

The American Brain Tumor Association shared the following signs and symptoms that patients may experience.  If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider for further evaluation and follow-up.  For more information about signs and symptoms click here.

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Sensory and motor loss (touch/movement control)
  • Blood clot/Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Hearing or Vision loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Behavioral or Cognitive changes
  • Hormonal/Gland changes (endocrine dysfunction)

How are brain tumors treated and what research is being done to improve the diagnostic and treatment options for patients with brain tumors?

Treatment options are dependent upon the age of the patient, the type of tumor a patient is diagnosed with as well as size, location and grade of the tumor.  Treatments can consist of surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy or other targeted therapies. All available treatment options will be presented based on the patient’s overall health status as well as their individual tumor status.  The American Society of Clinical Oncology shares information about the latest brain tumor research being done which can be accessed here.

Where do I find additional resources and information about brain tumors?

The following is a list of websites providing a wealth of information about brain tumors.  This is not an all-inclusive list but is a good place to start.

How can I get involved and advocate for brain tumor awareness?

There are many ways to get involved and volunteer whether you are interested in starting an awareness event, volunteering at an event or becoming an advocate or research partner. The websites listed above will outline various opportunities that may be a good fit for you.


Photo by Thitaree Sarmkasat on iStock