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Tue 12 Mar 2024

Brain Cancer Awareness Month - a personal experience

Hi, I'm Maddy, Insight Lead at Tenovus Cancer Care. Today I want to highlight how we have all been affected by cancer in some way. Just because we’re researchers, politicians, or work for cancer charities, our experiences aren’t any less valid. This #BrainCancerAwarenessMonth I’ve decided to share my personal experiences. 

When I was 19, I noticed my Dad was behaving strangely and forgetting lots of things. At 60 he suddenly seemed to have become “old”. I encouraged him to see his GP as I was worried about dementia. It turned out, he was already seeing his GP about several different things. 

We found out he was being investigated for personality change, weakness in one side of his body, migraines, and sickness. These are really common symptoms for brain cancer and yet they were being treated as separate conditions.  

It was only 2-3 months later when he had a stroke that he had a brain scan through emergency care which identified a tumour the size of an orange in his brain. A biopsy recognised it as malignant, and the plan was to start radiotherapy (just to give him a bit of extra time). But, sadly, the biopsy itself caused a bleed on his brain. 

By the time he woke up a few weeks later, there was nothing to be done except care for him as best as we could, and he passed away a couple of months later.

Pictured: Howard Young

This was 18 years ago, but my understanding of cancer care is still really shaped by this experience.  

My academic background may be cancer research, but my personal background impacts me daily in what I think makes good cancer care. It is why I am a member of the All-Wales Cancer Community, not as a researcher, but as a person.  

And as always, if you want to talk to us about anything to do with cancer, please call our nurse-led Support Line on 0808 808 1010. Or if you'd like to share your views about how cancer care in Wales could be improved, join our All-Wales Cancer Community. 

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010