To increase awareness about brain tumors and the signs leading to diagnosis, Delaware’s Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation will host a fundraising walk along the Wilmington Riverfront Saturday.
Brain tumors are often deadly, but early detection gives patients and doctors more options for controlling growth and spread.
Stuart Sherman of Bear, Del, says his mom lost time before she was diagnosed.
“When she first went in to see the doctor, the doctor told her she was fine … that there was no MRI needed,” Sherman said. “She went home and, over the summer, she started getting worse. To us, she didn’t seem right; she was not the mom and the Gloria that we knew.”
Gloria Sherman died in January 2010, three months after lapsing into a coma.
A tumor can push on the brain or integrate in normal tissue causing big treatment complications.
Brain surgeon Donald O’Rourke, who cares for patients at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, says the symptoms that suggest a brain tumor are often misdiagnosed by primary care doctors who–understandably–first suspect more common conditions such as stroke.
“I think that we just have to be attentive to neurological illness, and we have to keep it a little less in the back of our minds, and a little more in the forefront, that someone presenting with headache or neurological symptoms or even something very subtle should have an MRI study,” he said.
O’Rourke says doctors work in an era of cost containment, where they must justify every new test recommendation. At the same time, he says, an explosion of medical technology has given specialists better tools for detection and treatment.