From shaking by having a cup of tea to a nap in the afternoon, patients with brain cancer have revealed the more subtle "symptoms" of their disease.
A study of 39 people with brain cancer reveals how weak the signs can be, many of them dismissing their poor memory and lack of balance in the context of aging.
Many also feared that their doctor thought that they were "stupid" if they complained of feeling "grumpy" or "clumsy" without any other symptoms.
And some participants said that they had not asked for help earlier because they were busy working with their parents with other priorities.
A new study of 39 people with brain cancer reveals how bad the signs can be, many of them dismissing their poor memory and lack of balance in the aging process (stock)
The research was conducted by King's College London and directed by Dr. Suzanne Scott, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology.
The prognosis for brain cancer is mediocre: only 40% of patients live more than a year after diagnosis and only 20% have survived five years, the authors wrote in the journal PLOS One.
Despite its seriousness, brain cancer research has low levels of investment compared to other forms of the disease.
Recent research suggests that 39% of patients with brain cancer in the UK see their GP three or more times before being referred to a specialist.
To identify how brain cancer symptoms are forgotten, the researchers interviewed 39 newly diagnosed adults and their relatives, from East and North West England.
Their findings reveal that patients noticed that they were undergoing "subtle changes", such as poor concentration, headaches and simply a sense of difference.
They also reported being less interested in activities and not worrying about their relationships, work and hobbies.
But they did not take these symptoms into account and never considered asking for help.
A woman, aged 61 to 70, said, "When I drank a cup of tea, it was like a little shaken, but I did not think it was anything."
A man of the same age added, "I was doing the dishes and I continued to lean … very slowly in the sink.
"It's funny, you do not even think," I should go see the doctors with this, "you do not, it just seems like" I'm going to get over this. "
Many participants did not ask for help sooner because they felt "stupid", convinced that nothing could be done or that they did not want to waste time to their doctors.
As people get older, they also see changes as part of the aging process.
A participant aged 51 to 60 years said: "I started napping in the afternoons so I thought," Oh, I'm 50 years old now. " "
And the results further suggest that we are less likely to take the symptoms seriously if they are mild or come and go.
One participant – 41 to 50 years old – said, "When I spoke, it was like I was chatting a bit, but it would not last more than a minute and everything would be fine.
Symptoms that coincided with periods of stress were often thought to be due to participants' busy schedules rather than a sign of illness.
"I thought about it [it] It was my job because teachers are renowned for being tired, "said a participant aged 31 to 40.
"Also, many other people in my work will say" oh my God, I'm so tired, "so I thought" everyone feels like this "."
The prognosis for brain cancer is poor: barely 40% of patients live more than one year after diagnosis and only 20% have survived five years, the authors wrote (stock)
Patients often failed to mention their symptoms to their GP because they felt they were "useless".
"You would not go to the doctor thinking," You know, I'm grumpy, I'm still rubbing my arm, "said a participant aged 41 to 50.
Another woman of the same age added, "Never, never would I have told a GP that I was more clumsy."
Others were also worried about wasting their doctor's time.
"I mean, the doctors are so busy now that you do not want to bother them anymore, because there are people who need to see the doctors and who can not come in," said a 41- to 50-year-old woman.
"It's just a fun thing to explain to a doctor – that you get an impression of déjà vu and then a smell."
And some feared that their GP thinks that they are "stupid".
"I did not want to go tell him," I think I have Alzheimer's disease, "said one woman.
"He thought I was silly because I was between 31 and 40 years old at the time, so he will probably say to himself," Oh that then, it's a hypochondriac ". "
And many parents, particularly busy, thought they had bigger problems to deal with.
A friend of one of the participants said, "You are a working mother and you tend to get by.
"As far as you're concerned, you just think," Okay, headache, whatever. "
Many patients have asked for help only when they became worried, that they may have had a stroke, poor vision, or dementia.
Others were harassed to see their GP by their loved ones.
The scientists behind the study encourage those who fear that something is wrong to make a list of their symptoms or changes made to their GP.
They also want the people involved to be helped by their loved ones, who could better notice changes in their behavior.
The scientists added that future research should look for the symptoms most associated with people who are slow to seek help.
WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOME AND UNTIL AT WHAT TIME? THE AGGRESSIVE BRAIN TUMOR SUFFERED BY JOHN MCCAIN
Senator John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma in July 2017
Glioblastoma is considered to be the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. Senator John McCain was diagnosed in July 2017.
According to the figures, patients have a 10% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis. The average life span is between 14 and 16 months.
A glioblastoma will hit three in 100,000 adults, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
It is most commonly found in men aged 50 to 60 years and there is no link between the development of glioblastoma and a history of cancer.
WHAT IS THE TUMOR MADE?
The tumor is made up of a mass of rapidly growing cells in the brain and, in most cases, patients do not have a family history of the disease.
It will not spread to other organs. However, once diagnosed, it is almost impossible to target, according to the surgeons.
Unlike other types of more localized brain cancer, glioblastoma can occur in any part of the brain.
WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?
Since the tumor has probably already penetrated deep into the brain at the time of diagnosis, the cancerous tissue is extremely difficult to eliminate.
The surgeon will never remove the tumor, or part of the tumor, unless it causes damage to the surrounding brain tissue.
In July 2017, Dr. Babcar Cisse, neurosurgeon of the Center of Brain and Spine of Weill Cornell, said: "At the time of diagnosis of glioblastoma, microfibers can spread to the rest of the brain, which MRI could not detect.
"So, even if the main tumor is removed and the patient receives radiation therapy and chemotherapy, she will come back."
CLASSIFICATION OF A GLIOBLASTOME
Brain tumors are ranked one to four, depending on their growth rate and degree of aggressiveness.
Malignant tumors receive a high grade three or four, while benign tumors are assigned a lower grade one or two.
Glioblastoma is often referred to as Grade 4 astrocytoma, another form of brain tumor, according to AANS.
Patients usually complain of symptoms such as confused vision, memory problems, dizziness and headaches.
The symptoms are somewhat nonspecific, vary from person to person and may not persist.
The disease is therefore impossible to diagnose based solely on the symptoms.