Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.



Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….



For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.


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often lead to irritability, interfering with thoughts and feelings, which leads to displaced anger, impaired relationships, poor eating habits, lack of exercise and a neglect of the necessities of good diabetes management.

There are a few reasons for the behavioral changes seen with diabetes. One is the effect of abnormally low glucose levels in the bloodstream. Both anxiety and subsequent depression can be triggered by a diagnosis of diabetes. The burden of daily management and fear of complications can seriously trouble the patient. Low glucose levels can cause impaired judgment, anxiety, moodiness, belligerence, fatigue, apathy, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision and a lack of coordination. The symptoms improve if blood glucose levels are stabilized. This is when a patient and his or her caregivers must recognize the need to obtain the professional help of a diabetes educator, registered dietician or clinical health psychologist. The American Diabetes Association is committed to educating the public about how to stop diabetes and supporting those living with the disease. Visit its Web site at

Sources and Resources:

•  Gonzalez, J.S. (2013). Depression and Diabetes. In: Peters A., Laffel L., eds. Type 1 Diabetes Sourcebook. 169-179.

•  Joslin Diabetes Center (2016). Recognizing Diabetes: General Facts and Information.

•  WebMD (2016). Diabetes Care and Treatment. When Your Diabetes Treatment Isn’t Working For You.

Noticing sudden weight loss, periods of extreme thirst, frequent urination and feeling tired and fatigued, a visit to your primary care physician reveals you have diabetes. This diagnosis can have both an emotional and psychological impact. You must deal with some significant lifestyle changes and dietary restrictions as integral components to diabetes management. The primary purpose of diabetes management is to restore carbohydrate metabolism to normal levels. To accomplish this, people with diabetes must consider the behavioral management of their condition. Along this journey, behavioral changes may lead to emotional frustration that results in anger, resentment and difficulties with interpersonal relationships.

Managing blood sugar levels within the range recommended by your primary care physician can be challenging. It can cause distress because a variety of factors affect blood sugar levels. Published data underscore the prevalence of psychological issues associated with diabetes. Reported rates of anxiety and major depressive disorder, which affects 6.7 percent of adults in the United States, are twice as great among individuals with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes across a life-span. Furthermore, depression is higher among youth with Type 1 diabetes compared to those without the disease (Gonzalez 2013).

When psychological factors are involved, careful monitoring of blood


levels and maintaining healthy eating habits are the cornerstones of good management. You will need to adopt the lifestyle of an astute self-manager. Knowing how what you eat affects your blood sugar levels is critical. It’s not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations of food you eat. It is also important to realize physical and mental health are closely related and each affects the other in a person with diabetes. It’s undoubtedly more difficult to comply with your diabetes treatment plan when you feel physically and emotionally distressed.

Elevated blood sugars can result in feelings of sluggishness and fatigue, which in turn impacts psychological wellness. Stressful life events (Miller 2013) can suppress the body’s immune function, resulting in high cortisol levels. For some people with diabetes, stress levels are compounded day after day just by living with the disease. When emotional stress is thrown into the mix, it becomes even more important for people with diabetes to learn how to cope with it and eliminate any further negative impact on their physical and mental health. Furthermore, emotional stress leads to the secretion of many hormones that can counteract the actions of insulin and disrupt blood sugar control. These stress-induced emotions


Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller