Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient

Departments

Australian first resource to help brain cancer patients get on with life

27 June 2019

"The emotional impact of brain cancer hit me like a sledgehammer," Sheran Jegasothy said.

Sheran has shared her experiences with staff from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre to help develop an Australian-first resource to help patients living with brain cancer to get on with their lives.

Dianne Legge, Brain Tumour Support Coordinator, said there are thousands of people across Australia living with brain cancer.

"These are patients who can live a relatively normal life for many years after being diagnosed, especially younger patients," Ms Legge said.

"We typically focus on how patients will feel when they're diagnosed or being treated for brain cancer but this is the first resource of its kind specifically designed to help people move on and manage their lives.

"It has been have developed after talking to patients, their families and health professionals about the challenges patients face getting back to day to day life after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and to help families and friends understand the support they can give loved ones during their cancer journey.

"The resource is like a workbook where patients can get the information they need but can also make notes about their progress managing the impacts of cancer.

Sheran said another analogy for the shock of receiving a brain cancer diagnosis is like being hit by the first wave of a tsunami.

"The waves keep coming and there's nothing that can be done to stop the stress completely, but by building a level of acceptance their intensity softens and you can have some control over how they impact you, and actually get on with living a good life," she said.

"This new resource is comprehensive and brilliant.

"I'd just had a baby before I got my diagnosis and I was really worried about my family and how they would be impacted.

"Having something like this available when I was diagnosed would have made a world of difference. It would have gone a long way to reducing the stress on me and the people around me as we all came to terms with the challenges we were suddenly facing.

"A brain cancer diagnosis is life changing and maybe you won't get back to 'normal' as you knew it, but life does go on and it's important to celebrate the good news along the way," she said.

The 'Building the Bridge to Life with Brain Cancer' resource has been developed by Austin Health in conjunction with Cabrini Health, Monash Health, North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS), Cancer Council Victoria and Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre thanks to a grant from the Victorian State Government.