Brain Tumors Not Always Deadly

Jun 19, 2000, 01:00 ET from National Brain Tumor Foundation

    OAKLAND, Calif., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- "You have a brain tumor." These
 are some of the scariest words a person can hear.  But understanding more
 about brain tumors can also lead to an understanding that a brain tumor
 diagnosis is not an automatic death sentence.
     The recent announcement of Channel 2's (WBBM) Sports Director Tim Weigel
 having undergone surgery on Monday to remove a brain tumor highlights the need
 for accurate information about brain tumors.
     Each year over 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a
 brain tumor.  Brain tumors can be either benign or malignant.  There are over
 100 different types of brain tumors and they appear in different parts of the
 brain.  Different types of tumors appear to be more common to particular ages,
 but overall, the greatest incidence appears to be in people 65 and older.
 Most studies in developed countries show that the number of people who develop
 brain tumors and die from them has increased by perhaps as much as 300% over
 the past decade but the reasons for this increase still remain elusive.
 Environmental factors are suspected, although no major culprits have been
     The symptoms of a brain tumor vary depending on the size and location but
 common symptoms include severe headaches, seizures, personality changes,
 vision problems, nausea and vomiting, and speech disturbances.  Unfortunately
 these can also be the symptoms for many other conditions and a brain tumor
 diagnosis can only be confirmed by a MRI and biopsy.
     The key to fighting this difficult disease is related to a patient's
 ability to access information and support.  Many organizations offer
 information about cancer but the National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF) was
 set up to provide brain tumor specific information about treatment options,
 support groups, and information.  For over 20 years NBTF has been providing
 free information to patients and their families as well as raising funds for
     Many successful public figures, who are also brain tumor survivors, offer
 hope and inspiration to other patients.  Elizabeth Taylor still performs
 despite a brain tumor diagnosis.  United States Senator Arlen Specter from
 Pennsylvania remains active in Congress even though he was treated for a brain
 tumor.  Lance Armstrong, a metastatic brain tumor survivor, returned after
 treatment to win the Tour de France in 1999.
     "At NBTF, we believe it is crucial for patients to be informed about all
 their options," says NBTF Executive Director Janis Brewer, "and to understand
 that many people can and do survive a brain tumor."
     For more information about the National Brain Tumor Foundation, please
 contact the Patient Information Line at 800-934-CURE or visit their Website at

SOURCE National Brain Tumor Foundation