National Gray Day Date in the current year: May 27, 2024

National Gray Day National Gray Day, also known as National Wear Gray Day, is observed annually on May 27 to raise awareness of brain cancer and highlight the importance of funding brain cancer research to find a cure for this devastating disease.

Brain tumors result from the formation of abnormal cells within the brain. Like all tumors, they are divided into two main types: benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). While the majority of brain tumors are benign, nearly one-third of brain and central nervous system tumors are malignant. Cancerous brain tumors can be primary or secondary. Primary tumors start within the brain, and secondary tumor metastasize to the brain from another part of the body.

Brain cancer can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the location of the tumor or tumors. The most common ones include headaches, nausea and vomiting, difficulties with balance and coordination, seizures, memory problems, problems with hearing or vision, difficulty with speaking or language comprehension, personality changes and behavioral issues, and partial paralysis. Since all of these symptoms are nonspecific for brain cancer, getting a proper diagnosis can take some time.

The three main types of treatment for brain cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The best course of action is chosen depending on the location of the tumor. Surgical removal of as many cancerous cells as possible is preferable, but sometimes tumor location doesn’t allow to remove it surgically. Radiotherapy is most commonly used to treat multiple secondary tumors. Chemotherapy is less effective than radiotherapy because some drugs can’t reach the brain due to the blood-brain barrier. However, young children typically undergo chemotherapy instead of radiotherapy because radiation can have negative effects on brain development.

The prognosis and survival rate of brain cancer depends on its type. For example, medulloblastoma has a 72% five-year survival rate with proper treatment, while glioblastoma is an extremely aggressive type of brain cancer that has a poor prognosis even with maximum treatment; without treatment, it can kill a person in three months.

National Gray Day was launched by Voices Against Brain Cancer, a nonprofit organization committed to finding a cure for brain cancer and brain tumors by raising awareness, advancing brain cancer research, and creating a community where brain cancer patients, their families and caregivers can find the support they need. It was founded by the family of Gary Lichtenstein, a young many from Chicago who succumbed to brain cancer at age 24.

National Gray Day is part of Brain Cancer Awareness Month. Its name is a reference to the color of the brain cancer awareness ribbon; the color gray was chosen to promote brain cancer awareness because it represents the gray matter of the brain. On and around May 27, various events are held throughout the country to raise awareness of the importance of brain cancer research and honor the memory of those who died of brain cancer and brain tumors.

You can observe National Gray Day by wearing a gray t-shirt or awareness ribbon to start conversations, participating in an awareness event near you or organizing an event of your own, donating to a charity that funds brain cancer research or supports brain cancer patients, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #NationalGrayDay, #GrayDay and #BrainCancerAwareness.

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