Power of Support During Cancer
- Johnny Ruffo, 35, is grateful to have the love and support of his girlfriend to help him along his brain cancer journey. Having support from loved ones does wonders for patients battling a disease or cancer by offering much-needed emotional support.
- Ruffo is known for starring on "X-Factor" and "Home and Away". He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 after he went to the doctor with a severe migraine.
- Symptoms of brain tumors may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, balance problems, personality or behavior changes, drowsiness, or seizures.
- One area of promise offering hope to people battling brain tumors involves tumor treating fields which can help extend the lives of patients by two years on average.
"X-Factor" star Johnny Ruffo, 35, has an abundance of resilience despite battling an incurable brain cancer. Fortunately, the popular reality TV star has the love and support of his longtime girlfriend Tahnee Sims, 29, standing by his side every step of his journey.
The adorable couple often share elements of their relationship on social media including loving vacations and everyday fun activities. In Sim's latest post, she dedicated a beautiful tribute to her resilient boyfriend. She captioned the post, "Six years on from diagnosis. What a fighter!!"
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Ruffo also has dedicated several social media posts to expressing his love and gratitude for his girlfriend over the years as well.
"She is here with me every step of the way. I'm so very grateful to have her by my side, I don't know what I would do without her," he said.
Ruffo's career in the limelight grew after he placed third on the Australian "X Factor" show in 2011. From there, the talented singer dipped his toes in the world of acting, and even became a soap star for his role as Chris Harrington in the Aussie show "Home and Away."
For cancer warriors like Ruffo or anyone battling a disease, finding support through loved ones is critically important to staying motivated while on your journey. It's clear the impact Sims and Ruffo's family are having on his ability to keep fighting. While documenting his cancer journey through a series of social media posts, his loved ones are often by his side. He also appears to be in good spirits, determined not to let cancer define him. He says he's already outlived his life expectancy after getting his diagnosis six years ago.
Johnny Ruffo's Cancer Battle
Johnny Ruffo was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 after he went to the doctor with a migraine.
"I felt like I was just kicking goals and I couldn't miss. And then all of a sudden I just hit a brick wall and everything just came crashing down on me and the whole world came crumbling down," he said of his diagnosis. "But I am so grateful I've had this incredible support network around.
"Tahnee being one of them. Those people around you are the ones that keep you going."
It was reported that he was cancer-free in 2019, but Ruffo shared that his cancer had returned in 2020. He's undergone various treatments over the years, including surgery and chemotherapy, and he's been happy to share updates along the way.
Even though his cancer doesn't technically have a cure, Ruffo has no intention of giving up.
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"I understand that the cancer is terminal, but you know, I'm going to do everything I can and I am currently doing everything I can to kick its a***," he said.
WATCH: Importance of getting emotional support.
Understanding Brain Cancer
To understand brain cancer, it is important to learn about brain tumors. 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, which includes the brain and spinal cord, acts as the main "processing center" for the nervous system as a whole, according to the American Cancer Society. The 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.
According to the National Institutes of Health, CNS tumors can be either benign or malignant. They also can be classified as a primary tumor which means it begins in your brain or spinal cord. The tumors can also be metastatic or secondary which means they are caused by cancer cells elsewhere in the body and spread to the central nervous system.
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. When the tumors are considered malignant, that's when you have brain cancer.
Symptoms Brain Tumors May Cause
Brain tumors may cause a variety of symptoms which include:
- Intense head pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision problems
WATCH: See how one cancer warrior dealt with a brain tumor.
Treatments for Brain Tumors
Treatment options for brain cancer depend on a variety of factors, including the size and type of the tumor as well as the grade of the tumor.
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are options doctors use to treat brain tumors. Cancer warriors are encouraged to talk to their doctor to learn their specific situation and what options are best suited for treatment.
The prognosis for brain cancer, or how likely it is to be cured, depends on a few things:
- The type of brain tumor
- How fast the brain tumor is growing
- The tumor's location
- If there are DNA changes in the cells of the brain tumor
- If the entire tumor can be removed with surgery
- Your overall health
Your doctor will be able to help you understand your specific and unique circumstances and how they relate to your prognosis.
Ongoing research is giving much-needed hope to people battling brain tumors including glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor. One area of promise is tumor-treating fields which can help extend the lives of patients by two years on average, giving them hope.
Optune, the brand name for the tumor-treating fields delivery device, was launched in 2011 and approved by the FDA in 2015. It is a wearable and portable device for glioblastoma treatment for adult patients aged 22 years or older.
WATCH: Using electric sources to improve glioblastoma treatment.
"There's been a very exciting development of tumor treating fields, which are electrical fields that have been applied to the brain," Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan, a neurologist at Tufts Medical Center, previously told Survivor Net.
TTFields use low-intensity electric fields to disrupt the cell division process, making it harder for cancerous cells to multiply.
More on Brain Tumors
- There Is New Hope for Those Fighting the Same Cancer That Took John McCain & Ted Kennedy; Using Polio & Immunotherapy to Fight Brain Tumors
- Can Cell Phones & 5G Cause Cancer? A Leading Brain Cancer Doctor Says “No”
- Could a New Treatment Have Saved John McCain? Fighting Brain Cancer With Electric Fields
- Beloved Atlanta News Anchor Jovita Moore, 52, Diagnosed with Glioblastoma After Doctors Find Two Masses in Her Brain
Questions for Your Doctor
If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, here are some questions you may consider asking your doctor:
- What stage is my brain cancer?
- What are the treatment options for my brain cancer?
- What are the risks and benefits of the recommended treatment?
- What are the side effects of the recommended treatment?
- How long will it take to recover from treatment, and will I be able to return to work and normal activities?
- What's the likelihood that insurance will cover the recommended treatment?