Mims Davies MP says it is crucial to raise awareness of brain tumour symptoms in order to save lives.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.
One outstanding local resident, Holly Vivian, was diagnosed with a grade 4 oligodendroglioma in December 2020 whilst still in her late 30s and is joining forces with Mims Davies MP to raise awareness of this life changing disease to educate all on symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Mum-of-two, Holly Vivian, a nurse from East Grinstead, had been suffering from:
- Daily migraines
- Visual auras
- Sudden weight loss
- Less patience.
She had also started vomiting uncontrollably and was suffering from what she now knows to be repeated seizures.
These presented as a pang in her stomach that would travel around her body resulting in tingling toes and fingers, ringing ears and intense headaches. She underwent emergency surgery followed by six weeks of daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy and a further 12-month course of chemo.
Holly is now being monitored with three-monthly scans and currently remains stable.
Symptoms can include:
- Headache - which does not subside from over the counter medications
- Weakness in the limbs, face, or one side of the body
- Impaired coordination
- Difficulty while walking
- Difficulty in routine activities - reading and talking
- Noticeable changes in senses like taste and smell
- Bladder control problems
- Changes in mood, personality, or behaviour
- Nausea or vomiting
- Memory loss
“I made repeated visits to the GP, not always for the same thing but, looking back, they were all for brain tumour symptoms. My GP told me I was being ridiculous and, as a nurse, I was trained not to undermine doctors’ opinions so I accepted it.
Fortunately, my brother is a consultant in anaesthetics and neuro anaesthesia and he had a big part to play in saving my life. He told me he’d googled my nearest neuro specialist hospital and that I needed to go to Brighton General Hospital without wasting any time.
I said goodbye to my partner and kids, which was horrendous, and four days later, on 4th January, I had brain surgery. It was a long and difficult four days on my own waiting to find out if I would live or die.
I was so scared as I signed a piece of paper saying I accepted the surgeons would try not to kill me but might.
Later the surgeon told me if I’d waited two more days I’d probably be dead.
Getting an official diagnosis was pretty stressful as no one seemed sure at first and I wanted to be able to research the latest drugs available. Had my tumour been discovered earlier, it almost certainly wouldn’t have been so aggressive but, in some respects, I’m glad it wasn’t because I wouldn’t have both my boys.
Despite feeling unable to plan too far ahead, I am hopeful about my future and want to enjoy what time I have left with my family.”
Mims Davies MP said:
"I am honoured Holly has allowed me to share her story, the effect on her family and how incredibly brave she is every day.
I can only imagine just how distressing, frustrating, and truly terrifying it must have been to go through this ordeal and to not even feel you have been listened to.
It is so important we are all aware of brain tumour symptoms.
I am so inspired by the sheer strength and persistence Holly exhibited during her journey to being diagnosed and how hard she is selflessly fighting to educate others so this doesn’t happen to them, and they can be diagnosed sooner.
Thank you very much to Holly for allowing me to share your story, and I look forward to our fundraiser this year raising money for the brilliant charity Brain Tumour Research who work so hard to find a cure for all types of brain tumours. We will be doing local awareness events soon so do contact me if you would like to help and be part of these.”
"I am beyond thrilled to have met Mims Davies and that she has taken a huge interest in my case.
I truly wish to raise awareness for brain tumour symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis.
I believe Mims can help me leave a legacy so that other adults under 40 and, children are not overlooked in both primary and secondary health care settings.
I thank Mims enormously for caring like an older sister and for showing compassion to my story!
I hope we together will be a united force, able to steer our government to place more emphasis on the number 1 cause of cancer death in children and adults under 40! 2024 we’re coming for you :)"
Brain Tumour Research are the only national charity in the UK focused on finding a cure for all types of brain tumours through campaigning to increase the national investment in brain tumour research to £35 million per year, while fundraising to create a network of seven sustainable Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence across the UK.