Keith Black, MD has written a book called: Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles

I saw Dr Black speak at the Ebell Women’s Club Luncheon in LA recently. He described himself as a brain surgeon who is in love with the human brain. He said he wrote this book to tell his patients stories about what they went through and how they dealt with hearing that they had some form of brain cancer. He described his patients, as some of the bravest people he knew and he wanted to share stories of their courage and heroism.

Over 22,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with primary brain tumors, meaning they start in the brain itself. More than half these will have something called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) which are the most malignant & most common of all brain tumors. A tumor may have 10 billion cancer cells, surgery may remove about 90 percent, that leaves over a billion cancer cells still remaining.

A GMB tumor can grow back fast, within weeks. For this kind of tumor, Dr. Black has to get 99.9 percent to have a significant impact on a patient’s survival. Johnnie Cochran ( of O.J. Simpson fame ) succumbed to a GBM in March 2005. Senator Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with one in May 2008.

The odds of surviving GBM are not good but Dr Black says that his patients are grateful for any extra time he can give them. People can live an entire lifetime in 6 months or a year and that is a much higher quality of life. He says that these people teach us all about the meaning of a life well lived.

He says also that there is a great deal of controversy about whether cell phones are a contributing cause of brain cancer. Cell phone manufacturers are well aware that there might be risks because they advise us to hold the phone a certain distance from our heads. Microwave radiation diminishes with distance.

A Swedish study found that using cell phones for an hour a day increased their risk of brain tumors by 2 and half times. Other studies point to the same conclusions but more time is needed to have conclusive results. Many people in their 20s and 30s have never had a land line and use cell phones exclusively.

Children in particular who have cell phones glued to their heads are vulnerable because their brains are still developing. Since brain tumors are becoming more frequent, Dr Black suggests using a wire earpiece and not even a blue tooth as they still emit microwaves. Brain cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in kids under 19.

Keith Black, MD has written a book called: Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles

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