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The Brain Tumour Charity recently shared the results of surveys it did across the country between October 2018 and 2020. It found that 56 percent of brain tumour diagnoses in the UK were the result of “emergency presentation” at hospital A&E departments. There were 1,494 adult brain tumour sufferers involved in the surveys.
One woman who found out she had the unforgiving condition in a surprising way like this was Mandy Lomax, who has been a professional actor and model for over 20 years.
Although her tumour wasn’t discovered by A&E, it was only after visiting her doctor after a head injury that the growth was discovered.
Lomax was taken to hospital in 2006 after a horse she was riding on-set for a film bolted and forced her to jump off.
The hospital thought she had nerve damage because she had limited use of her leg after hitting her pelvis and hips.
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But a few days later, with the injury on her mind, she visited her GP with symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision and nausea.
She said: “My GP sent me for a CT scan straight away due to the symptoms I was having.
“In fact, my head was not badly affected from the fall itself and there was no bleed. The doctor told me that I had the luckiest fall of my life.
“From my local hospital, my scan results were sent to a specialist neurosurgical team in London for verification that I was concussed but that I also had a rather large tumour.”
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During a craniotomy, the head is opened up by a neurosurgeon to expose the brain so they can remove the tumour with precision tools.
The Brain Tumour Charity explains on their website that this is usually done under general anaesthetic but can also be done while you’re awake.
Over time Lomax recovered from the brain surgery although she struggled to read sometimes and her general brain function was slower.
But for many people, brain tumours can “wreak havoc” over people’s daily lives, explains Alex Lochrane, Chief Executive at the charity.
One in three people spoken to by the charity experienced personality changes because of the brain tumour and its treatment.
“There is a huge and urgent need for increased funding for more research into brain tumours,” Lochrane said.
“Although there is still a long way to go, our researchers are making progress all the time to help find new and more effective treatment options to help improve survival rates and quality of life for those diagnosed.”
The charity has recently made a commitment to invest £40 million into research by 2027.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the main symptoms of a brain tumour include:
- New onset of headaches or changing patterns of the headaches you’re having
- Headaches getting more frequent and severe
- Unexplained nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or leg
- Difficulty balancing.