SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WHNS) — May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and it’s the reason Brian Anderson wants to share his near brush with death.
In 2009 Anderson said he began experiencing headaches and memory loss. Anderson said he would take aspirin but the problem wouldn’t go away.
“I started getting the headaches and they would come around the same time of day,” Anderson said.
After months of enduring the pain and resisting a visit to a doctor, Anderson said he finally decided to see a physician.
“The MRI clearly showed a softball-sized tumor,” Anderson said. “It’s called a butterfly tumor and it spreads over the brain.”
He said it was later discovered the tumor was also cancerous. The diagnosis scared Anderson and made him realize how little he knew about brain tumors.
Sharon Bartelt works in the Gibbs Cancer Center in Spartanburg and said the symptoms of brain tumors are often hard to spot unless you’re educated about the condition.
“Headaches, fatigue, personality changes,” Bartelt said are some of the signs. “People are on the go constantly, they don’t rest enough and they think it’s from all the work.”
The American Brain Tumor Association says more people need to be aware of the disease because it’s the second leading cancer-related killer of children under 20 and men ages 20 to 39. The ABTA says one in 450 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumor in their life.
“If you have symptoms, the best thing to do is to go to your primary care physician,” Bartelt said. “They can proceed with a workup.”
Anderson has now been cancer-free for five years and lives a normal life. He said he wants everyone who is diagnosed with a brain tumor to be able to do the same.
“Be aware of your body,” Anderson said. “If you sense something wrong, it will never hurt to go to a doctor.”