Around 12,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumor every year; among them are well-known figures like tenor Russell Watson, musician Martin Kemp, and The Wanted singer Tom Parker.
Twelve-year-old Grace Kelly, of Oadby, Leicestershire, was recently in the news after being diagnosed at a regular SpecSavers visit but tragically passing away before the £200,000 needed to fund her treatment could be raised.
Baroness Tessa Jowell, a former Cabinet minister, also passed away from a brain tumor. Her death in 2018 at the age of 70 came a full year after her diagnosis.
Baroness Jowell, before her death, made it clear that she wanted to help revolutionize brain tumor care, research, and survival rates for the benefit of all patients.
And now, four years later, her dream is coming true: the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), an organization founded in her honor, has designated nine neuro-centers across the country as “Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence,” honoring them for the exceptional care and treatment they provide.
“So, it was tragic while fitting that her final campaign was to create universal equality in access to excellence in cancer care throughout the NHS,” Jess Mills, Jowell’s daughter and co-founder of TJBCM, said of her mother’s efforts to end systemic inequality. I can’t express how proud I am that in only three years we’ve started making that dream a reality. Despite having one of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe, the UK is poised to become a world leader in the treatment and care of people with brain tumors thanks to the Tessa Jowell Centres. There is still a long way to go, but this is a tremendous beginning.
While all neuro-centers provide high-quality care, the nine designated centers are recognized for going above and beyond for their patients, according to Dr. Catherine McBain, a consultant clinical oncologist at The Christie in Manchester and one of the hospitals to be named a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence.
Though receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer can be devastating, patients can rest assured knowing that the NHS is working tirelessly to provide the best possible care today and to develop treatments for the future.
Do you know who BRIAN is? Whether you have a brain tumor, are caring for someone who does, or work in healthcare or research, this guide is for you. Learn how to keep track of everything related to your brain tumor experience here: The link is: https://t.co/DCJuLpIXrz. pic.twitter.com/OaJdDtUC7p — Brain Tumour Organization (@BrainTumorOrg), a non-profit dedicated to researching and eradicating the disease. March 15, 2021
The CEO of The Brain Tumour Charity, Sarah Lindsell, has called the Tessa Jowell awards a “major step forward in driving up standards for brain tumour patients.”
“Early detection remains a critical and unique challenge in brain tumours,” Ms. Lindsell explains.
Many of the most common symptoms, such as headaches and coordination issues, can have a wide range of other causes, some of which may be more serious.
Any time you notice something off about your health, or if your symptoms seem to be getting worse over time or are otherwise hard to explain, we recommend seeing your doctor.
Dr. McBain says that the most telling signs of a brain tumor are gradual changes that worsen over weeks or months, often accompanied by the appearance of new symptoms.
Dr. McBain explains that “other than a seizure, which may occur on its own,” most people will have a combination of symptoms that develop and become more noticeable over a period of two to three months.
That’s the kind of thing that calls for an appointment with the family doctor.
So, what exactly are some of these possible signs?
Keep in mind that experiencing any of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that you have a brain tumor, but if you are worried you should visit your doctor.
Head to emergency if you have a fit or seizure for prompt evaluation, which may include a brain scan.
two-sided facial, limb, or overall weakness
Weakness like this can strike suddenly, as in the case of a stroke, or develop subtly over a period of weeks, as in the case of dragging your leg or tripping over curbs because you cannot seem to lift your foot up properly.
3 Significant interruption of speech
Speech difficulties, including slurring, stammering, and mispronouncing words. It’s normal to have trouble putting words together on occasion, but it would be cause for concern if it persisted over a period of weeks or months in addition to other symptoms, suggesting a brain tumor.
4. Alteration of character
Brain tumor patients often show gradual deterioration in social and cognitive abilities over the course of several months. They may experience difficulty with previously easy activities like playing an instrument or using the internet to make financial transactions.
5 Alterations in Eyesight
The ability to see to one side of the head can be impaired by brain tumors. It’s possible that this could lead to people colliding with doorframes, failing to notice someone sitting next to them, or even clipping the wing mirrors of parked cars. See an optician first if you notice any changes in your eyesight; they will be able to conduct a thorough exam and advise you on whether or not to visit a hospital.
Reading and understanding words are a struggle
Over the course of a few weeks, you may find that it becomes progressively more difficult to compose emails, send texts, or decipher subtitles or words in a book, despite your eyes clearly displaying all of the necessary information.
7. Acheful Heads
Although headache is the most common symptom mentioned when discussing brain tumors, it is uncommon for a headache to be the only sign of a brain tumor.
When discussing possible brain tumors, doctors use the term “headache plus,” which refers to the presence of a headache in addition to other symptoms. Headaches that worsen “clearly, definitely, and progressively” over a period of two to three months and are accompanied by other symptoms are cause for concern.
If you only experience a headache, it will likely be unlike any other you’ve had before and will rapidly worsen over the course of a few weeks. It could be there first thing in the morning, jolting you awake, or it could become linked to morning sickness, vomiting, and lethargy.
Visit The Brain Tumour Charity for more details.
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