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Mother-of-two who thought she had sunstroke gets terminal cancer diagnosis


A mother-of-two who thought she had sunstroke after spending time outside during hot weather has opened up about her shocking brain tumour diagnosis.

Janet Sykes, 44, a case worker from Reading, started suffering from headaches and a sense of confusion after volunteering outside at a village fair in May.

She was later diagnosed with a terminal high-grade glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and is speaking out about her symptoms as temperatures near record highs in the UK.

Ms Sykes’ symptoms worsened and after being referred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading for an MRI scan, it was revealed she had a mass on her brain.

On her diagnosis, she said: “I was in floods of tears. I went from thinking I had sunstroke to, a week later, finding out I had terminal brain cancer. I was distraught.”

A month later, Ms Sykes underwent surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where half the tumour was removed.

She is now undergoing chemotherapy to target the remaining cancer.

Janet Sykes underwent surgery and is now having regular chemotherapy for her brain tumour

(Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

She said: “So far, I am halfway through a six-week course of radiotherapy and a week into chemotherapy and I feel well.

“I know this may change but I am very much of the mind of dealing with my diagnosis one day at a time.”

Ms Sykes is due to finish her treatment in December and will continue to be monitored through regular scans to detect further growth.

She and her husband Steve shared details of how they are dealing with the diagnosis and treatment as a family with two young sons, Peter and David.

She said: “We have done our best to explain that mummy will have a scar and stitched on her head and when I had radiotherapy, Peter says ‘mummy is going to the captain brain zap.’

“They understand to a certain degree and we’ll always be open with the children.”

The mum-of-two says she is dealing with her diagnosis “one day at a time”

(Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

“Certainly for me, having a brain tumour wasn’t something I thought about,” she continued. “You donate money to the cause and then get on with your day.

“My treatment is due to finish in December where I will be scanned again to see how the treatment has helped.”

She added: “My hope is to her back to normal life, at the moment I’m trying not to think beyond January 2023.”

According to Brain Tumour Research, GBM is the most commonly diagnosed high-grade brain tumour in adults, with an average survival time of 12 to 18 months, limited treatment and no cure.

GBM Awareness Week begins in the UK on 18 July.


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