Brain tumour: Cancer Research UK on 'different types' in 2017
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The star was the lead singer for Foreigner between 1977 and 1990 and then again between 1992 and 2003. During this time, his voice featured on massive hits including Cold as Ice and Juke Box Hero. The star published a book Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades In Rock N’ Roll, which gave an insight to the growth of the band, as well as the growth of the deadly brain tumour, which reached “the size of an egg.”
In the book, he writes: “It was a non-cancerous tumour, but it was the size of a large egg and it was in my frontal lobe and it had tentacles wrapped around my pituitary and optic nerve.”
Although benign, these tumours – known as craniopharyngiomas – can have deadly complications. They’re linked with stroke, hormonal deficiencies, heart issues and more.
The star first became aware of the tumour in his 40s after experiencing “incredible headaches – worse than any hangover I’d ever had”, as well as issues with memory.
He added: “My long and short-term memory started to become spotty, and my eyes would cross once in a while.”
“I went for an MRI and they said it was a large tumour, the size of an egg and that it had been there since birth, growing.”
Aged 47, he became diagnosed with the disease back in 1997. He told Fox News in 2016: “I was 47. Basically, I was sent home and told I was going to die.”
When he arrived home after his diagnosis, Gramm happened to come across a television program about a hospital in Boston where they were operating on brain tumours.
Gramm added: “At the end of the segment it gave his office number and I called it early the next morning and his secretary suggested I get my MRIs, get on a plane and come immediately.
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“I did and a day and a half later I was on the operating table. There was no time to waste, it was a nineteen-hour operation.”
Craniopharyngiomas are typically diagnosed when people are children or teenagers. As Gramm experienced, they’re removed using a dangerous surgery.
According to the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, this surgery is dangerous and can “cause significant damage to the surrounding brain”.
The general symptoms of a benign brain tumour are headaches, seizures, feeling sick all the time, paralysis and behavioural changes – according to the NHS.
However, the symptoms can vary depending on many factors, including your age group.
Dr David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity, explains: “The warning signs vary by age group, as well as due to the type of tumour and where in the brain it is located.”
Brain tumours are quite rare and many of the symptoms of brain tumours are similar to other conditions’ symptoms.
Despite its rarity, Dr Jenkinson, recommends people visit their doctor if they develop symptoms so they can “rule a brain tumour out”.
An early diagnosis can help to ensure you receive treatment that prevents the tumour from growing and becoming worse.
Dr Jenkinson said: “We’d encourage anyone who is worried about a symptom that’s unusual for them, and particularly if it is persistent or they experience a combination of symptoms, to speak to their doctor – to help rule a brain tumour out.”
In the UK, over 12,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours per year, with almost 5,000 people losing their lives to the disease each year, according to Cancer Research UK.
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