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Facing A Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Beth Kassab & Dr. Melvin Field. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Beth Kassab & Dr. Melvin Field. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

While caring for her husband, Grady, after his diagnosis with brain cancer, the Orlando Sentinel’s Beth Kassab faced a health crisis of her own: doctors discovered she also had a brain tumor. Kassab joins Intersection, along with Advent Health's surgical director for neuro-oncology, Dr. Melvin Field to discuss the physical and emotional challenge of confronting a brain tumor diagnosis.

"My husband was diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumor last year," says Kassab.

"He's doing very well. I think sometimes he's caring for me more [than I'm caring for him], she says.

"Unfortunately we had a really unusual situation last year, in that I also was noticing some symptoms, but very different from his. I put it off for quite a while, I felt like it was probably stress, because of what was going on in our lives," says Kassab.

What she thought was an ear infection turned out to be a brain tumor.

Kassab wrote in the Orlando Sentinel about dealing with that diagnosis while helping care for her husband.

Her tumor was a benign meningioma, which was treatable with what's called "gamma knife radio surgery."

"My approach is, I encourage all my patients to go online and read about their diagnosis," says Dr. Field.

"I encourage them to get other opinions, and they have to be very comfortable with that," he says.

Kassab says, no matter what the outcome, a brain tumor diagnosis can be scary.

"The brain is often said to be the command center for the body. It also very much represents the self, the mind, the spirit even, all of the things that make us who we are, and it is very scary to encounter any kind of threat toward that," she says.