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Liverpool Echo

Nurse's 'clumsiness' turned out to be large brain tumour that was making her fall over

A 24-year-old nurse received a devastating diagnosis after noticing she was starting to lose her balance.

Fern Cameron first realised something was wrong in December 2020 while on a night shift at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The oncology nurse said she noticed she was losing her balance and started to get double vision.

Her mum also saw a change in Fern’s mood, and said she was more short-tempered and got wound-up easily. In January 2021 Fern’s GP referred her to the neurology department at Ninewells Hospital and an MRI scan revealed a mass on her brain.

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She was diagnosed with an astrocytoma brain tumour and surgeons operated on her in the following days as it was putting pressure on her brainstem. Fern 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.

“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.” After five months off work, Fern returned in April 2021.

She was given the ‘all clear’ in October 2021 which meant she didn’t need to have radiotherapy or chemotherapy. After what she has been through, Fern now wants to "do something positive", and is taking on the Jog 26.2 Miles in May challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

Fern underwent surgery to have a mass on her brain removed (© Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

She said: “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 tumours and people don’t recognise the symptoms.

“I’m doing this not just for myself, but also for all people who are battling against this devastating disease.”

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour 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 tumours and improve the outcome for patients who are forced to fight this awful disease.

“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumours 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.”

Fern’s fundraising page can be found here

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