Learning About Brain Tumor Treatment
- Andrew Le Page, known for his time on Season 8 of the British Dating Game Show “Love Island” where he met his girlfriend Tasha Gouri, has opened up about his brain tumor diagnosis.
- In Gouri’s most recent podcast episode, titled “Superpowers With Tasha – Andrew Le Page: Staying Positive Through Tough Times,” the loving couple spoke about Le Page’s battle with cancer at age 20, following his major knee injury.
- Brain tumors account for 85-90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
- In 2023, the ASCO estimates that 24,810 adults (14,280 men and 10,530 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with primary cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
- General symptoms of a brain tumor may include headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, balance problems, personality or behavior changes, seizures, drowsiness, or even coma.
In Ghouri’s most recent podcast episode, titled “Superpowers With Tasha – Andrew Le Page: Staying Positive Through Tough Times,” the loving couple, who both met on “Love Island” in 2022, spoke about Le Page’s battle with cancer following his major knee injury.Read More
“I went back into my car, started crying, and literally went back to work that day, like that afternoon.”
“They all knew I'd gone to the doctors for it, and they were like, ‘Andrew, how'd it go?’ and I just couldn't speak. And eventually, one of my colleagues went to my boss and said, ‘I think Andrew needs to go home and process this.'”
Le Page, who never thought he would experience something like cancer, admitted that he told his parents and his brother immediately after the news, but he didn’t know how to tell others about it.
He continued, “It was scary, really, really scary, like ‘what the hell?’ This is major, having a brain tumor at 20. Literally, within two weeks I flew to London and had surgery and got it removed, but at the time it was so scary, like what could have been.
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“Luckily my brother called the doctor because I would have left it. I thought it was just part of my skull, it was hard so I thought it literally was my skull, and it was big as well.
“At the time it was so scary and I was crying and I couldn't speak to my colleagues, like, you know when you want to say something but can’t? It was like that and I got it removed within a month or two of it all happening and luckily I’m all good.”
After pointing out how Le Paige has dealt with various obstacles “at the same time” – not only cancer but a major knee injury and surgery prior to his diagnosis – Ghouri praised her boyfriend for coming out of it all “so much stronger.”
She explained, “I think you’re a great pioneer, especially for the younger generation because you’ve shown to people that you can have, you know, your dreams taken away but if you stay positive, everything does happen for a reason and you can get through those moments and look on the bright side.
“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel and I think that’s why you’re so great at that. You always do look at the light at the end of the tunnel. … You didn’t stop because there could’ve been times when you could’ve really caved in, but you still had that ounce of,” Ghouri said, as Le Page chimed in, “Positivity.”
He insisted, “I’m grateful for everything that’s happened.”
Offering advice to anyone going through hard times, Le Page said, “Trust the process and just be positive because it will all work out. And obviously, things might seem like they can’t get any worse, and it does get worse, but eventually, it will get better.”
He added, “When you're young, you always think I'm invincible, I'll live forever and I'll be able to run forever and do this forever. But then at 20, I thought, ‘What is going on? This is ridiculous. Why me?’ You always think, ‘Why me?’
“Even with my knee I always think, ‘Why me?" From then, I was like I've just got to live my life. After the surgery and it was fine, I thought that was a close call and I've got to enjoy my life as much as I can now. It was tough while I was doing it, but it all worked out for the best.”
Getting a cancer diagnosis and going through the treatment process can be incredibly stressful. It's completely normal to feel anxious, scared, sad, and so much more. The disease is a mental challenge as well as a physical one.
One way to get your mental health back in check after a diagnosis is to try to play up your strengths, Dr. Samantha Boardman, a New York-based psychiatrist and author, tells SurvivorNet.
“I sometimes will ask patients, tell me about yourself when you were at your best," she explains. "Using that story, trying to figure out what strengths come to mind â€¦ is it patience? Is it appreciation of beauty? It is perseverance? [Then we can] use those strengths in constructive ways to navigate their cancer journey.”
Dr. Boardman says another way to approach harnessing the strength you already have is by tapping into your values. This could be family, close friendships, spirituality, or commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Reminding yourself of what your values are and how you are living accordingly is another way to unleash that inner strength.
Lastly, patients shouldn't underestimate the value of simply opening up, Dr. Boardman says. This could mean speaking to a close family member or friend, or it could mean seeking support in other ways by finding a therapist that meets your needs or looking into joining a support group.
Having negative feelings throughout your cancer journey is to be expected, however, doctors will tell you that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive tend to have better outcomes.
“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.”
Understanding Brain Tumors
Brain tumors account for 85-90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). In 2023, the ASCO estimates that 24,810 adults (14,280 men and 10,530 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with primary cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as the main "processing center" for the body's nervous system. The normal function of the brain and spinal cord can become difficult if there's a tumor putting pressure on or spreading into normal tissue close by.
There are many different types of brain and spinal cord tumorsand some of which are more likely to spread into nearby parts of the brain or spinal cord than others. Slow-growing tumors may be considered benign, however, even these types of tumors can lead to serious problems.
Meanwhile, symptoms of brain tumors, as a whole, are usually caused by increased pressure in the skull. This pressure can stem from tumor growth, swelling in the brain, or blockage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the American Cancer Society explains.
General symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Personality or behavior changes
- Drowsiness or even coma
Additionally, MD Anderson Cancer Center notes that changes in the ability to smell can also be a sign of brain tumors, and, more specifically, "strange smells" can be a symptom of seizures, which can result from brain tumors.
It's important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to brain tumors. Still, you should always speak with your doctor if you're experiencing any health problems.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff