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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
RESPONSE TO HUFFUNGTON POST ARTICLE about "Nonmalignant" brain tumors
To the Huffington Post, Dr. Bederson and Ms. Crow:
While I appreciate your raising awareness about brain tumors by publishing this story, I would like to express my concern with two phrases used in your article; "benign brain tumor" and "likening the tumor to a wart."
As a former physical therapist turned nonmalignant brain tumor patient, I have experienced first hand the severity of these tumors. I am glad you reference the location of the nonmalignant tumor, but the long term effects of a nonmalignant tumor can greatly affect quality of life and this issue needs to be addressed.
While the mortality rates for the medical treatment of nonmalignant brain tumors are comparatively low when contrasted with certain other types of tumors/cancer, the long term impact following treatment of these tumors can have significant lasting effects. This may include short term memory loss, coordination impairments, balance impairments, alteration in affect/mood, chronic pain, seizure disorders, visual loss, difficulty swallowing and a variety of other life-changing symptoms. Nonmalignant brain tumors can be life-threatening as well. People diagnosed with these tumors need long term follow up scans to be sure their tumors are not growing. Those whose tumors have been treated also need follow up scans to detect possible tumor recurrence after treatment.
It is very common for medical professionals to dismiss a malady that appears to be not as serious as a "cancerous" tumor. As a medical professional, I realize the short term emphasis is on treatment of the condition. As a 6-year nonmalignant brain tumor survivor, I think it is important that medical professionals and the general public understand the severity of specifically nonmalignant brain tumors. As a medical professional turned nonmalignant brain tumor survivor, I urge you to consider the long term effects of a nonmalignant brain tumor before dismissing a "benign" tumor.
Please do not describe a nonmalignant brain tumor as a "wart". The long term effects on a patient can be quite debilitating dependent on the location of the tumor, plus any deficits that occur following treatment. There's nothing benign about any brain tumor!
I sincerely wish Ms. Crow luck in her journey with this disease and her recovery.
Eric Anthony Galvez DPT
6 year meningioma nonmalignant brain tumor survivor
Founder, President mAss Kickers Foundation