Understanding Brain Cancer
- Iain Ward, 30, from London, England, was diagnosed in 2019 with stage 3 brain cancer.
- Ward thought he was just earning some extra cash by taking part in a paid medical trial.
- Doctors discovered he had a tumor which would require aggressive treatment.
- He’s focused on raising money for brain cancer research, ‘rather than feeling morbid about it.’
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), says brain tumors account for 85 to 90 percent of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
“I was doing medical trials at the same time as well as to make a bit of money on the side,” Ward told DublinLIVE in an interview. “One of those trials found out that I had a benign tumor. But when I got it tested a second time around, it grew significantly and I needed surgery. Then I got the diagnosis.”Read More
“I started focusing on dealing with the issue rather than feeling morbid about it,” he said, taking on the moniker ‘King of Chemo’ on Instagram.
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His diagnosis was a turning point for Ward, who says attitude is everything. He’s planning to outlive his limited life expectancy.
“All human emotions are contagious. I don’t act like anything is going on and that sort of mentality rubbed off on my parents,” he said. “Now I have clear goals I never really had before. I never really had that level of clarity.”
Understanding Brain Cancer
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), brain tumors account for 85 to 90 percent of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as the main “processing center” for the entirety of the nervous system, according to the American Cancer Society. Normal function of the brain and spinal cord can become difficult if there’s a tumor present that puts pressure on or spreads into nearby normal tissue.
Young has not specified her exact type of brain cancer, but there are many different types. Some types of brain and spinal cord tumors are more likely to spread into nearby parts of the brain or spinal cord than others. Slow-growing tumors may be considered benign, but even these tumors can cause serious problems.
Brain Tumor Symptoms
Symptoms of brain tumors are often caused by increased pressure in the skull. This pressure can be caused by tumor growth, swelling in the brain or blockage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), according to the American Cancer Society.
General symptoms may include the following, but it is important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to brain tumors:
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Personality or behavior changes
- Drowsiness or even coma
Staying Positive Through Treatment
It’s very normal to have negative feelings throughout your cancer journey, and it’s okay to express them too! Anger, shame, fear, anxiety – it’s all to be expected. But doctors will tell you that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive tend to have better outcomes.
Stay Positive, It Matters
“A positive attitude is really important,” says Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patients are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
Shifting Priorities After Cancer Diagnosis
Ward’s priorities have shifted.
He has worked in a gym before his diagnosis. Now he wants to own a gym.
“I did like my job. I’d highly encourage everyone in the world to never do a job that they don’t like because work is a good third of your life so don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it,” Ward advises. “I did enjoy my work but I thought, what is the purpose of it? It’s nice, it’s fun but it doesn’t really have an end result or a goal.”
Ward is now raising money for cancer research, hoping to break a world record in cancer fundraising.
“Everything that I do now is kind of based around raising money for charity. It’s so easy to do it,” Ward
said. “You can just do anything where you’d normally be getting paid and give the money to charity.”
Ward is also gearing up to run the London Marathon later this year, with a goal of under three hours.