After losing her daughter Laura to brain cancer, Nicola Nuttall is determined to save others.
Laura died aged 23 after spending five years campaigning to raise awareness of glioblastoma multiforme, which also killed 33-year-old The Wanted singer Tom Parker.
As a trustee of the charity Our Brain Bank, Nicola is calling on the government to demand better recognition and support for glioblastoma.
“I have to try to change the diagnosis and treatment of the cancer that killed Laura,” she told Sun Health.
“I get contacted every week by people who have been diagnosed and cannot find any information about their cancer.
“There is an NHS page for brain tumours, but not glioblastoma specifically, despite the fact that there are 3,200 cases diagnosed in the UK each year.
“Imagine getting a diagnosis and then being unable to find any information about it.”
The five-year survival chance for brain cancer is five percent, compared to 88 percent for breast cancer.
Adds Nicola: “Countless people have told me they were diagnosed after months of visiting their GP.
“First they are told that it is because of stress or fatigue, or that they should see their optometrist if they need new glasses or a new prescription.”
While symptoms may vary depending on the location of the tumor, they include: headache, loss of appetite, loss of balance or difficulty walking, mood swings, nausea and vomiting, personality and behavior changes, problems speaking, problems with memory, seizures, sensory changes , difficulty concentrating, blurred vision and weakness.
Nicola believes a surge in cases means more needs to be done – and done quickly.
She says: “Since the 1990s, the number of brain tumors has increased by 39 percent.
“And in the last decade alone, the incidence of brain tumors in women has increased by 16 percent.
“More needs to be done urgently.
“We need to get to a point where diagnosing brain cancer is the same as diagnosing HIV.”
“It used to be fatal, now it’s treatable and we need the same thing with brain cancer.
“Laura never felt sorry for herself or her diagnosis, but every time she heard that someone else had died from her cancer, it made her so angry.
“This disease could and should have a much better prognosis than it does.”