A Scots nurse had a brain tumor removed after she ‘felt unwell’ during a hospital nightshift.
Brave Fern Cameron is now raising money for research following the shock diagnosis last year.
Fern, from Kirriemuir, first realized something was wrong in December 2020 while on a night shift at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
The 24-year-old said she noticed her balance was off and she was really clumsy at work.
Doctors later discovered she had an astrocytoma brain tumor in January 2021.
She said: “My balance was awful and I was really clumsy, but I ignored it.
“Then I noticed that my eyes were getting increasingly worse and I had double vision. I went to the opticians and they said I had nystagmus, where my eyes were moving involuntarily.”
Fern’s mum, Karen Duncan, also noticed a change in her mood – that she was more short-tempered and got wound-up easily.
Fern’s GP referred her to the neurology department at Ninewells Hospital, for an appointment on 5 January 2021.
Fern, who has four siblings – Ross, 28, Kieran, 26, Niamh, 22, and Mya Duncan-Walker, 14, said: “The neurologist said that something was wrong and he booked me in for an MRI scan the next day which revealed a mass on my brain.”
Surgeons operated the following day, 7 January, because the tumor was putting pressure on Fern’s brainstem.
The operation went well, although surgeons were unable to say with certainty if everything had been removed.
An MRI scan in October 2021 gave Fern the ‘all-clear’, which meant she didn’t need to have radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
After five months off work, she returned to her nursing role at Ninewells Hospital on 24 April 2021.
Now she is taking on a marathon challenge with her sister after surviving the disease.
The duo will participate in the Jog 26.2 Miles in May challenge to raise money for Brain Tumor Research – with funds already at £650.
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She said: “I just wanted to do something positive. I’m not a runner at all, but my sister Niamh runs a lot so she’s doing the challenge with me.
“There is such a lack of awareness about brain tumors and people don’t recognize the symptoms.
“I’m doing this not just for myself, but also for all people who are battling against this devastating disease.”
Brain tumors kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Brain Tumor Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumors through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year.
It is also fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumor research centers in the UK.
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumor Research said: “We’re really grateful to Fern as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumors and improve the outcome for patients who are forced to fight this awful disease.
“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumors are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time.
“Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”
– You can donate to Fern’s fundraising page here with more details about the Jog 26.2 miles challenge here.
– More information on Brain Tumor Research can be found here.
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