Ask the Expert: Reacting to the Diagnosis

Reacting to an Adult Brain Tumour Diagnosis

You or your loved one have just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and you are trying to comprehend what this means. You are asking yourself how this could have happened. Why me? Why now? The shock of this diagnosis is difficult and overwhelming. This information sheet discusses the issues that you will need to address including asking the right questions, telling loved ones, advocating for yourself and finding the right support to help you through this journey.

Your reaction to this diagnosis of a brain tumour will likely involve many thoughts and questions rushing through your mind as you begin to comprehend this illness and its implications in your life and the lives of your loved ones.

It is normal to experience many different feelings and emotions as you go through the process of understanding your diagnosis. You may or may not have developed symptoms that indicated that something was wrong. Perhaps symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, visual problems, and other possible symptoms had shown up and worsened over time, which lead to the diagnosis. Or maybe you were feeling perfectly fine, but suddenly experienced a seizure that lead to a quick and unexpected diagnosis.

Many patients and their loved ones commonly go through a grieving period after they learn about the tumour. Feelings of denial, anger, sadness, fear, and depression may occur. It is not uncommon to experience several, if not all of these emotions as this diagnosis often changes the life you once knew.

Absorbing all of the information that has been given to you can be incredibly difficult as the terminology is very new and the amount of material is often overwhelming. After having time to digest this diagnosis, many patients and their loved ones want to learn more about their tumour and what can be done.

Becoming informed can provide a sense of empowerment for some individuals, but can also be frightening to others. Having loved ones step up to take on the role of gathering information and researching can remove the fear and burden of the overwhelming amount of information. They can then share the necessary information with you.

Knowing where you can go for support and who you can talk to can help. As you learn more about this diagnosis, you will also learn more about the resources that are available to you. As you begin coping with the changes in your life, there are people that you can turn to that can help you with these transitions.

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is available to talk to you about how you are feeling and help you find support services in your community that could be of assistance.

The Social Work Department at your local hospital or cancer centre can also be an invaluable resource to you as they are very familiar with the services available in your local community.

This information is an excerpt from the Patient Resource Handbook. You can download this information as a Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Information Sheet or request your free copy of the handbook simply complete the online request form or call us at 1-800-265-5106.


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