Brain Cancer Awareness Month – May 2021

May

Join us in supporting all those affected by brain cancer during Brain Cancer Awareness Month (also known as Brain Tumor Awareness Month), which is observed each year in May. This is a nationally recognized event throughout the United States. Brain cancer is an often under-publicized type of cancer and there’s a need for a bigger spread of awareness around it.

History of Brain Cancer Awareness Month

In the early ages, when there was little to no knowledge of brain cancer, deaths caused by it were common and were preceded by trademark symptoms like headaches, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Physicians at the time recognized these symptoms as signs of increased pressure in the brain and developed methods to try and relieve it. Evidence suggests such measures were developed in ancient Africa and South America. 

Multiple ancient physicians such as Hippocrates, Socrates, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Galen, and many Byzantine physicians did not specifically mention brain cancer in their writings but gave clear instructions regarding methods of relieving pressure in the brain. Science shows us that multiple neurosurgical techniques have been perfected in times of war. That’s probably why the Incas, who were apparently part of a military state, showed proficiency in methods of relieving pressure on the brain, although, again, there was no knowledge of brain cancer at the time. Studies of skulls from the Neolithic Age, ancient Egypt, and South America all show evidence of people with brain tumors, but no signs that they were ever treated. This situation changed with the discovery of X-rays and brain cancer awareness has come a long long way since then.

This month was started by a group of charities who went on to become the founding members of the Brain Tumour Research center. One of the leading voices for raising awareness of brain cancer is the American Association for Cancer Research, which aims to bring together the brain cancer community and explains how everyone can get involved.

Brain Cancer Awareness Month timeline

1884
First Recorded Brain Tumor Operation

A brain tumor operation takes place at the Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis, at Regents Park in London.

1895
The Game Changer

German mechanical engineer and physicist Wilhelm Röntgen produces X-rays, making the detection of brain cancer easier.

1800s to 1900s
Further Research

Neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing reports that while X-rays have limited utility overall in the diagnosis of brain tumors, they can easily diagnose those in special parts of the brain.

2004
A Month is Designated

Brain Cancer (or Tumor) Awareness Month is brought to life by a group of charities.

Brain Cancer Awareness Month FAQs

What day is Brain Cancer Awareness Day?

Brain Cancer Awareness Day is observed on May 27 in Brain Cancer Awareness Month.

What is the ribbon color for brain cancer?

Gray is the color for brain cancer, and it might be a reflection of a person’s ‘gray matter,’ a term used to denote the darker tissue of the brain.

What cancer month is February?

We observe National Cancer Prevention Month in the month of February.

How to Observe Brain Cancer Awareness Month

  1. Support local events

    Check online or on the American Association for Cancer Research website for events happening in your area and plan to attend these.

  2. Celebrate the volunteers and caregivers

    It is not just those afflicted by this disease who fight every day — each caregiver and volunteer and health professional does the same. Acknowledge their efforts and make them feel seen.

  3. Donate

    Each person’s support is critical to ensure the urgent needs of the brain cancer community are met. Apart from the obvious funding donations, consider volunteering your time at charities and nonprofit organizations or even donating something like your hair.

5 Interesting Facts About Brain Cancer Awareness Month

  1. The percentage of brain cancer occurrence

    Only 1.4% of all new cancer cases are brain cancers.

  2. A significant number of people diagnosed annually

    Each year in the U.S., more than 23,000 people are diagnosed with brain cancer and other nervous-system cancers, according to federal statistics.

  3. Ranking

    Brain cancer is the 10th deadliest cancer in the U.S.

  4. Approved drugs

    While 78 investigational drugs have been researched over the last 20 years, only five of them have been approved for use to fight brain tumors.

  5. All tumors can occur anywhere in the brain

    There are 130 different types of brain tumors and all areas of the brain are vulnerable to any of them

Why Brain Cancer Awareness Month is Important

  1. No one fights alone

    This month raises support for those fighting this illness as well as for their caregivers and health providers. The focus on brain cancer lets the affected ones know they are not alone in their fight; they have a community to support them.

  2. It raises awareness

    The whole purpose of this month is to raise understanding and awareness about brain cancer and its effect on the people affected. By raising awareness, the hope is that attention will be drawn to the critical need to find and provide appropriate treatment for those impacted by this illness.

  3. It helps develop an understanding of warning signs

    By learning more about brain cancers, their treatments, and the organizations and people that support such research, we develop a significant understanding of risk behaviors that can contribute to tumors. With such in-depth knowledge, we are better able to recognize some common warning signs that would enable us to seek help.

Brain Cancer Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2021May 1Saturday
2022May 1Sunday
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday