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Support Groups Provide Hope, Encouragement for Patients and Their Families

A brain tumor can be an especially difficult diagnosis to face – both for the patient and family members and friends.

Nearly 80,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with primary malignant and non-malignant brain and spinal cord tumors each year, according to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States.

Brain tumor symptoms and treatment often are difficult to cope with, but patients and family members can find encouragement at a Brain Tumor Support Group offered by Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Department of Neurosurgery.

According to Christine Hess, CRNP, Neurosurgery, the support group, which was started in 2017, features speakers and programs meant to educate patients and caregivers about brain tumors and how to best cope with the condition.

“We know that a diagnosis of a brain tumor can be very frightful and distressing,” Hess said. “We try to gear patients and families toward optimizing wellness while living with that diagnosis.”

Discussion topics have included: nutrition while in treatment for a brain tumor; the pathology of a tumor; the power of prayerful, healing touch; caring for the caregiver; and others.

Some of the sessions are led by Dr. Kenneth Hill, a neurosurgeon at Penn State Health St. Joseph, while others feature outside speakers.

“The more education a person can get, the less fearful the situation can seem,” Hess said. “Education is extremely empowering.”

The recently formed Brain Tumor Support Group is one of numerous groups the hospital offers. Others include:

  • Breastfeeding Support: The Baby Bistro
  • Stroke Support Group: Learn | Share | Connect | Inspire
  • Bereavement Support
  • Strength for the Journey (Cancer Support)
  • Managing Diabetes Course
  • Diabetes Wellness Group
  • Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver Support Group
  • Preparation for Childbirth

For more information about support groups at Penn State Health St. Joseph call 610-378-2000 or go to http://www.thefutureofhealthcare.org/support-groups.


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