Brain Tumour Awareness Month: Early symptoms and treatments

The order of service for the funeral of The Wanted star Tom Parker, who died of a brain tumour a year ago  (Kirsty O’Connor / PA)
The order of service for the funeral of The Wanted star Tom Parker, who died of a brain tumour a year ago (Kirsty O’Connor / PA)

Brain Tumour Awareness Month takes place in March after launching in 2004 as part of the efforts of a group of UK charities trying to raise awareness and increase Government spending on the disease.

According to the NHS, more than 11,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour in the UK each year, with one in three people knowing someone affected by it.

On March 30, 2022, singer Tom Parker, 33, from The Wanted, died of brain cancer.

Parker first spoke of his terminal brain-tumour diagnosis in October 2020 and, despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he sadly lost his battle.

Brain Tumour Awareness Monthaims to bring more attention to the disease, and to raise money for research.

What are brain tumours?

A brain tumour occurs when there is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal and uncontrollable way.

“The brain is made of different tissues and cells which can develop into different types of tumours. There are over 100 different types of brain tumours,” explains Cancer Research UK.

“A brain tumour develops when something inside a cell goes wrong, making the cell carry on dividing until it forms a lump or a tumour.”

What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?

Early warning signs may include:

  • Seizures

  • Headaches

  • Weakness on one side of the body

  • Changes to vision, hearing, and smell

  • Memory problems

  • Fatigue

  • Drowsiness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Difficulty walking or performing every-day activities

What treatment is available for brain tumours?

The type of treatment a person will undergo is determined by a number of factors, including the type of tumour, where it is, how big or how far it has spread, the extent of the abnormal cells, and how healthy and fit the person is.

For a low-grade brain tumour, surgery may be the only treatment needed but, if it’s more serious, then radiation therapy will be needed to help destroy the tumour cells.

How can I take part in Brain Tumour Awareness Month?

A programme of activities to raise awareness and funds to find a cure will take place throughout the month, culminating with Wear A Hat Day on Friday, March 31.

While Conquer the Steps is a new initiative, looking to challenge everybody to stepping up and helping to stomp out brain tumours.

By becoming more active this March, and gaining your £100 fundraising goal, you will receive a commemorative medal and also bring awareness to Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

You can take part at Conquer the Steps.