Brain cancer is an illness defined by the presence of tumors, or abnormal cell growth, in the brain. Primary brain cancer is cancer that originated in the brain, rather than originating elsewhere in the body and spreading to the brain. Nearly 200,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with some form of brain cancer each year.
Understand Who May be a at Risk
Know that those who have a family history of cancer are at an increased risk of experiencing tumor growth. Also, those who have been exposed to carcinogens in the workplace, especially vinyl chloride, and those with auto-immune disorders also have an increased risk. Ask your doctor if and when you should have a basic neurological exam.
Understand the tests used. Some of the ways you can be tested for brain cancer include MRI and CT scans. Biopsies (removing a bit of the tissue that displays abnormal cell growth) may be taken so that the tissue can be examined more closely. A spinal tap, in which a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is taken for examination, may also be suggested.
Make the Necessary Lifestyle Changes
Ask a family member or a friend to drive you to doctor's appointments and errands, since it may not be advisable for you to drive at this time. Alternatively, locate local grocery delivery services and buses that transport patients to local hospitals and doctor's offices.
Ask your oncologist how frequently you should come in for follow-up appointments, and arrange for transportation that will allow you to keep these appointments. You may want to find out whether you can make your appointments on the same days that cancer support groups are offered at the hospital to save you a trip.