A YOUNG woman who battled a brain tumour is promoting an awareness campaign locally.
Maria Winchester was diagnosed with a tumour and it was successfully removed in January this year.
She is now backing the HeadSmart – Be Brain Tumour Aware campaign to encourage health professionals and the public to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people.
Also backing the campaign is DGH consultant ENT surgeon Simon Baer, Maria’s doctor.
“Maria is living proof that detection can lead to a full recovery,” said Mr Baer.
“I would urge my clinical colleagues to be aware of the potential of brain tumours at an early sage in their diagnosis.”
Maria said that before she was diagnosed she suffered from ‘headaches, dizziness, feeling faint, depression, anxiety, pins and needles in my hands and feet and the déjà vu of hearing a woman’s voice I recognised in my head’.
“I also experienced tunnel like vision at times.
“I would be looking at something and it would appear to get smaller and further away from me as if I was going to pass out. One evening I had problems communicating with my husband Matt.
“I was fully conscious and knew what I wanted to say to him but I couldn’t open my mouth and speak to him.
“ It was like I had a stroke as all I could do was mumble.
“ I had difficulties with concentrating, stuttering and problems with usage of words.
“A tonic-clonic seizure in September 2011 eventually led to my diagnosis.”
Brain tumours kill more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and young people (more than leukaemia).
HeadSmart is a campaign which aims to reduce the time it takes to diagnose brain tumours in children and young people from the current average of 12-13 weeks to five and the charity is asking GPs and other health professionals to use the education module on the HeadSmart website http://headsmart.org.uk/edu/launch.html.
Maria added, “I wouldn’t want any person to suffer what me and my family have been through.”