Created: October 28, 2019 07:06 PM
It's a situation Charlie Lonergan never expected to be in.
"I had a mass the size of a grapefruit in my brain," Lonergan said.
Lonergan was diagnosed with brain cancer three years ago. More than 700,000 Americans live with a brain tumor today, according to Mayo Clinic. Nearly 80,000 will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year.
"I thought how could this be? I'm healthy, I'm young, how much time do I have to live?" Lonergan said.
He went through treatment at Mayo Clinic. He has had no evidence of recurrence since.
"The Mayo care team was really helpful [with] settling my nerves and providing me confidence," Lonergan said.
Dr. Fredric Meyer, a neurosurgeon with Mayo Clinic, said brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). He said a variety of treatment options exist for patients.
"We can cure many of them through surgery and radiation, and all sorts of chemotherapies or clinical trials," Meyer said.
The treatments have since advanced and include 3D imaging and virtual reality.
"But we still have a long way to go and I think at the core of that is research," Meyer said. "And in my opinion, that is the key to cures."
Aside from the treatment, Lonergan said family, friends and even strangers have helped him throughout his journey.
"You start to realize maybe how much you mean to someone or how much they mean to you, and that's been a blessing," Lonergan said.
He's since tackled marathons and wants to inspire others to never give up.
"Everyone has a story, we all struggle with something, but there is hope. There is always hope," Lonergan said.
To learn more about Mayo Clinic treatment options for brain tumors, visit this link.
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