Myth: To receive a non-malignant brain tumor diagnosis provides relief to the person diagnosed and their family

TRUTH: The distinction between non-malignant and malignant brain tumors can be challenging. Some non-malignant tumors can be as serious as those classified as malignant if they are in an inaccessible location, such as the brain stem. Any brain tumor is life-changing regardless of grade or stage.

Myth: All brain tumor patients have the same signs and symptoms

TRUTH: Every person diagnosed with a brain tumor will have different symptoms and their own journey to a diagnosis. While some people do not develop symptoms that would indicate a tumor, others may have symptoms that worsen over time eventually leading to a diagnosis. Others still may feel perfectly fine but experience a sudden onset of symptoms, such as a seizure which leads to a quick and unexpected tumor diagnosis.

Myth: Someone diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor does not require chemotherapy.

TRUTH: Although it is seldom required, someone with a non-malignant brain tumor may require chemotherapy. Treatment protocols are based on the person’s age and overall condition, and the location and size of the tumor.

Myth: Once a patient finishes their treatment plan life goes back to ‘normal’

TRUTH: For some patients, there comes a day when active treatment ends. That day can bring with it numerous mixed feelings, relief, happiness, anxiety but also uncertainty. The end of treatment does not mean the end of the experience of having a brain tumor and the person may need to adapt to a “new normal” depending on long-term effects the person may have from treatment.

Myth: We have a complete and accurate count of how many people in Nigeria are affected by a brain tumor

TRUTH: Currently, the Nigerian medical system does not track statistics on primary brain tumors. Complete and accurate data is needed to facilitate the research that will lead to a better understanding of this disease and improved diagnosis and treatment. Lakeshore Cancer Center is gradually building up an internal cancer registry that hopefully one day will put numbers to what we intuitively can see in practice.

Myth: Brain tumors are a rare form of cancer

TRUTH: Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid cancer death in children under the age of 20, now surpassing acute lymphoblastic leukemia. They are the third leading cause of solid cancer death in young adults ages 20-39.

Myth: Treatment for a brain tumor is standard and accessible to anyone affected

TRUTH: The treatment of a brain tumor can vary widely depending on the type (there are 120 different ones) and location of a brain tumor, the age of a patient and many other individual elements. While treatment should be defined by an individual’s medical needs, it should never be determined by cost or geographic location. Equal access to treatments and drugs and the associated financial burden is an important issue for brain tumor patients and their families in Nigeria.


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