Before Michael was diagnosed, the doctors were convinced that the “mass” in his brain was a virus. Why? Because all of the right side of his brain and half of his left side was covered in this “mass.” Not only are brain tumors of that magnitude almost unheard of, but who walks around with them? Most people would be in seizure or at least be having regular headaches with a pea sized brain tumor (even small benign tumors usually show some symptoms).

There was no reason to have an MRI or ultrasound of his brain. He was acting a bit wacky the few months before the seizure but no doctor would have ordered and no insurance would have paid for an MRI based on what we were seeing.

There was no way to know. The only way to have known was if he had had a full body scan and why would he when he was in terrific health sans a silent killer growing in his head? And brain tumors are of unknown origin…there are no known behaviors or habits or predetermining factors to suggest someone will get a brain tumor.

Michael’s tumors are too far along for any kind of treatment such as surgery. And so his time has been chopped to a few months instead of the years we would have enjoyed had we known sooner.

Wired Magazine ran a cover story a couple of months ago that said prevention is the key to curing cancer. But how can prevention cure cancer when the tests are so spotty. If you’re a woman over 40 you get a mammogram. A man over 50 you get a prostrate. But no insurance is going to pay for a man of 56 years old to have a scan of his head. None.

When President Obama said, a little while ago, that his health care plan includes seeking a cure for cancer and he mentioned prevention, tears sprung to my eyes. I hope it’s not more of the same spot prevention but rather full scans for all people. I know it’s expensive but it will save so many lives and be less expensive in the long run. Michael is using a lot of insurance money right now and will be using SSDI in the next few months.

Full body scans and more proactive screening for all cancers need to be included in any preventative package. I’m sorry to get political on here but I have felt so helpless the past few months because there was no way to know this killer was loose in his brain.

And like President Obama said, we MUST find a way to stop cancer in all its form. Prevention is key but not “let’s test for this on this age group” and not test for other things. Brain cancer affects people of every age and race and circumstance. They don’t fall neatly into one group and other deadly cancers are the same.

We must work to keep cancer from affecting our loved ones and we must expand the scope of prevention and find ways to look for cancers that have no clear age or gender group and that are not easily detected until it’s too late.

Soapbox off.

Advertisements