Kelly Franson: Taking a look back at my brain tumor - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Kelly Franson: Taking a look back at my brain tumor

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Getting prepped for surgery - June 2010 Getting prepped for surgery - June 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It was April 1, 2010 when I was told I had a brain tumor.  Yes, on April Fool's Day. 

I knew the doctor wasn't joking, but I remember thinking maybe, just maybe, he had made a mistake—wrong exam room, wrong patient, wrong MRI.  But then he showed me the scan. 

 I'm no doctor, but I could clearly see the grape-sized tumor.  I also recognized my nose.  It was my profile, so it must also be my brain.  And my brain tumor.

Fast forward two years, and having once had a brain tumor is something that rarely crosses my mind, no pun intended.  

I was lucky.  My tumor was "the best kind of brain tumor" to have.  

It was found before it caused big problems.  It was in a location that made it fairly easy for a neurosurgeon to remove.  

I didn't need radiation or chemotherapy or further surgeries.   The scar from my craniotomy is almost completely hidden by my bangs, which are thankfully now my own hair, and not the clip-on piece that I used to use to cover the part that was shaved. 

There is a dent in my forehead, and I can feel some of the hardware used to put my skull back together, but the headaches are now infrequent. 

I no longer immediately put ice on my head when I get home from work.  I no longer worry about an infection that might mean another surgery.  I go in for yearly MRIs to make sure there are no signs of regrowth, but otherwise, I am free. 

Many others aren't so lucky.

In the Charlotte area alone, approximately 1,200 people will develop a brain tumor this year. 

There exists a 1 in 200 lifetime risk for any individual of dying from a brain tumor.  Brain cancer is the leading cause of death in children and young adults up to age 34, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among those older than 65. 

Those statistics are from the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas.  If you've never heard of the BTFC, it's an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of the impact of brain tumors, and to providing support for the development of treatment strategies and cooperative biomedical research related to brain tumors in the Charlotte region.

Research is incredibly important, but the BTFC also helps out in a very practical and immediate way.  If you've ever gone through any sort of major medical issue, you know that trying to make sense of treatment options, and organizing appointments with various specialists can be overwhelming. 

The BTFC funds "Brain Tumor Navigators" to help people make sense of all the information and options available.  If you'd like to learn more go to

And if you're free on Saturday, April 14th, head to Center City Charlotte for the ninth annual Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium and watch the world's top cyclists compete for one of the richest purses in the country. 

The women race at 6pm and the men at 7:30pm.   It's the number one ranked Criterium in the nation! 

The event is free and benefits the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas.   Go to for more information. 

Photos: Kelly Franson

Photos of Kelly's recovery More>>

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