Even though I just recently got this shirt from Zazzle, I have been able to claim this title for over 18 years now….
I am very happy to say that I am not alone. Here are some stats from the ACS website (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BrainCNSTumorsinChildren/DetailedGuide/brain-and-spinal-cord-tumors-in-children-key-statistics and http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BrainCNSTumorsinAdults/DetailedGuide/brain-and-spinal-cord-tumors-in-adults-key-statistics)
Brain and spinal cord tumors are the second most common cancers in children (after leukemia). They account for about 21% of childhood cancers. Around 2,250 central nervous system tumors are diagnosed each year in children under the age of 20. About one fourth of these are considered benign tumors. The incidence rate (number per 100,000 children) of these cancers has not changed much in recent years.
Boys are affected slightly more often than are girls.
About 3 out of 4 children with brain tumors (all types combined) survive at least 5 years after being diagnosed. The outlook varies according to the type of tumor and where it is located. For more specific survival information on some particular tumor types, see http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BrainCNSTumorsinChildren/DetailedGuide/brain-and-spinal-cord-tumors-in-children-treating-survival-rates
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for brain and spinal cord tumors in the United States are for 2010:
• About 22,020 malignant tumors of the brain or spinal cord (11,980 in males and 10,040 in females) will be diagnosed. These numbers would likely be much higher if benign tumors were also included.
• About 13,140 people (7,420 males and 5,720 females) will die from these tumors.
Both adults and children are included in these statistics.
Overall, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord in his or her lifetime is less than 1% (about 1 in 150 for a man and 1 in 185 for a woman).
Survival rates can vary widely, depending on the type of tumor. Survival rates for some of the more common types of brain and spinal cord tumors are discussed in the section: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BrainCNSTumorsinAdults/DetailedGuide/brain-and-spinal-cord-tumors-in-adults-treating-disclaimer
Even though these statistics are interesting, I am glad I was diagnosed and treated before the internet was so widely available. My oncology team told me my diagnosis and that my treatment would include chemotherapy followed by radiation. I did not run home to look up my cancer type and chemo meds online. Which, I can do now in about 30 seconds…here they are 1. Carobplatin (http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/GuidetoCancerDrugs/CARBOPLATIN)
2. Bleomycin (http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/GuidetoCancerDrugs/BLEOMYCIN) - It says bleomycin is used to treat testicular cancer, which may explain why I was given it: even though the tumor was in my brain, it was made up of the same kind of cells as testicular cancer, proving without a doubt that I am a dickhead!
Sometimes people ask me “How did you deal with it?” or say “You must have been so strong to go through that.” To them, I say I had it easy compared to most people. It was 6 very difficult months, but it was only 6 months. My doctors originally said I would need chemo followed by radiation, but after my sixth round of chemo they said (with no explanation) that I didn’t need radiation. So many people go through years of treatment and different types of treatment and have only a few months of remission before they are battling again.
And not everyone has the awesome support system that I had (and still have!). I believe my family and friends were just as responsible for my recovery as I was. I believed I was going to be okay, and they (at least when they were around me) followed my lead in attitude. They still watched funny movies with me, joked around with me, and helped me keep my life as “normal” as possible.
I’m not saying I would recommend a six month battle with brain cancer, I’m just saying that compared to some, my battle was a short and somewhat simple one. Thank you to everyone who supported me through my brain cancer battle and every other battle I’ve had…I couldn’t have done it without you!