How Gratitude Helps During Cancer Journey
- Singer Johnny Ruffo, 35, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 after he went to the doctor with a migraine.
- Despite his terminal diagnosis, Ruffo keeps a positive attitude in life and often expresses his gratitude. He recently thanked his mom for her unwavering support.
- According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), brain tumors account for 85-90% of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
- Brain tumors can be either cancerous (malignant) or benign (noncancerous) and can affect both children and adults.
- “The patients who do well with cancer, they live life with that kind of gratitude, but in terms of everything,” he explained. “They’re grateful, not for cancer, but they’re grateful for an opportunity to know that life is finite,” says SurvivorNet expert Dr. Zuri Murrell.
“X Factor” star Johnny Ruffo, 35, is remaining grateful despite bravely battling brain cancer. In a sweet social media post dedicated to his mom, he expressed his appreciation for his biggest supporter who has never left his side.
The singer stood adjoined with his mom, Jill. She held a huge bouquet of beautiful and colorful flowers her son gave her on her special day. With huge smiles on their faces, you can see the love and support they have for each other.Read More
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The “Home and Away” star made a name for himself in 2011 after becoming a finalist on the Australian “The X Factor.” Exposure from the singing competition helped land Ruffo a recording contract. He released the popular hit “On Top” shortly after the show and danced his way into the hearts of fans on “Dancing With the Stars Australia.”
His life and career were impacted by a brain cancer diagnosis in 2017. As many SurvivorNet experts often say, having a strong support system behind you is important. Throughout Ruffo’s successful career and unsuspecting cancer diagnosis, he always had the love and support of his mom.
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Ruffo’s Brain Cancer Diagnosis
Ruffo was diagnosed with brain cancer after going to the doctor for a migraine. Brain cancer involves a tumor which is “a growth of cells in the brain or near it,” Mayo Clinic explains.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), brain tumors account for 85-90% 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, 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 interrupting messages sent from the brain to the rest of the body.
Brain tumors can be either cancerous (malignant) or benign (noncancerous) and can affect both children and adults, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Ruffo’s doctors found a 7-centimeter tumor on his frontal lobe. He had to undergo surgery to have the tumor removed. He also underwent chemotherapy, which involves drugs designed to kill cancer cells. He also needed radiotherapy which uses X-ray beams to kill cancerous tumor cells.
Ruffo never shied away from sharing his brain cancer battle with the public. He shared an emotional photo with his girlfriend after surgery.
“Three years today since I received the most devastating news of my life, thankfully with all the help and support from everybody around me, I’m still here,” Ruffo wrote in a caption.
“At some point, it will get me, but I’m still fighting. Still kicking on,” Ruffo previously said, according to The Daily Mail, a U.K.-based news outlet.
Despite his terminal diagnosis, he keeps a positive attitude in life and often expresses his gratitude.
WATCH: Living with Gratitude.
How Gratitude Helps a Cancer Battle
To be grateful means being thankful for what you have and showing appreciation for it. It may not always be easy to grab onto especially if you’re battling a tough cancer or disease. Our SurvivorNet experts encourage cancer warriors and their loved ones to practice gratitude because it helps your prognosis.
Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal cancer surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told SurvivorNet that his patients who live with gratitude tend to handle treatment better because this attitude is one way to stay mentally healthy.
We all know battling cancer or disease can be extremely stressful. If you’re able to find things that you are grateful for can help manage the dress. Stress and anxiety can lead to physical issues, and practicing gratitude can help get both under control.
“The patients who do well with cancer, they live life with that kind of gratitude, but in terms of everything,” he explained. “They’re grateful, not for cancer, but they’re grateful for an opportunity to know that life is finite.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, multiple studies have indicated that learning to live with gratitude can lead to more happiness and less stress. One way to exercise gratitude is to take time to think about things you appreciate every day. One way to exercise gratitude in your life includes writing down those things in a journal.
Finding Joy Amid Cancer
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you find yourself diagnosed with a brain tumor, there are some questions you should ask to help you on your journey.
- Is this tumor cancerous or non-cancerous?
- Can this tumor be treated? What are my options?
- How can I manage symptoms related to the brain tumor?
- How will potential treatment impact my daily life?
- What support services are available to me and my family?
Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.