One benefit of a primary brain tumor is that it won’t spread to other parts of your body. No Metastases! yeah.
That can’t be said for other types of cancer.
Breast cancer for example. Breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes, to the brain, to bones, etc… The blood/brain barrier creates a challenge, but it can be overcome. It’s treated with different chemotherapy than a primary tumor, but it can be treated.
We know much more about breast cancer thanks to research, development of new treatments, earlier detection, and increased awareness. If you’re not doing regular breast exams, you should be.
Because of the research, we know there’s a familial relationship to risk factors. There are gene mutations that can increase your risks of developing breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2). There are rare syndromes (like Cowden’s Syndrome) that dramatically increases risk of breast cancer (by 85%) along with a long list of other cancers. (Read my friend’s blog about her own experience with Cowden’s: https://hopeforheather.wordpress.com
There has been a lot of press coverage recently (thanks Angelina Jolie-Pitt) about preventative double mastectomy for those with increased risks. I can imagine that even thinking about this decision is incredibly scary and difficult. A mastectomy is not an easy operation, a double mastectomy is doubly difficult. I understand why women make the decision, but I can only begin to understand the thoughts and conflicting emotions.
I have many (too many) friends who have been diagnosed with and undergone treatment for breast cancer. My husband’s grandmother was diagnosed and treated (including a mastectomy) in the 60’s. She lived to be 100 years old. Survival is possible and can sometimes be a legendary story.
I have a dear friend who has just made that pre-emptive decision to have a double mastectomy. She has two small children (younger than mine) and she doesn’t want to risk having to live with the fear of her cancer growing and spreading. The surgery is underestimated and under appreciated for how difficult it is to go through and recover from – not including the reconstructive process.
She is one of the kindest, most loving people I know. She taught both of my children in kindergarten. She taught my neighbors’ children. She always has a smile on her face and a hug to give. She’s approached her cancer with an amazing amount of humor and hope. She’s willing to do anything she can to be there for her children through their lives. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm for the chance to get ‘new boobs’ is genuinely amazing.
As a teacher, the most under appreciated job around, she’s got limited leave and resources to take the full doctor prescribed amount of time off from work to recover. Another friend started a GoFundMe campaign to help support her family so she can take that needed extra time. Teaching kindergarteners is not a low stress, sedentary job. If you’d like to support a wonderful woman and family in their fight with cancer and survival, consider making a donation here: GoFundMe