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The pathology report says, “You have brain cancer.”

December 10, 2011

Though I have spoken those words literally hundreds of times, I don’t really know what it feels like to receive those words. I have, however, seen a stunning emotional range of reactions.

One of my first duties, in the protection and maintenance of humanity (from my last post), is to anticipate how the person in front of me is going to want to hear those words. That anticipation starts from the very first time I meet and engage with someone—their verbiage, body language, questions or lack of questions, social support, ethnicity, etc. All of these considerations, and more, are calculated in the anticipation of having to give them the very diagnosis they fear hearing.

Before I talk about our current treatment and research strategies, I would like to address the actual care in caring for someone dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis. Care is the foundation of what we do in the Neuro-Oncology Group at the BC Cancer Agency—we care.

We care first, and we care foremost. We see it as our duty to protect and maintain the humanity of a person, the humanity that is so threatened by a brain cancer tumour.