The Cities of London and Westminster MP, Nickie Aiken, is championing The Brain Tumour Charity’s ‘Better Safe Than Tumour’ campaign during BTAM. This is to support the public to recognise the possible signs and to get any concerning or persistent symptoms checked out by a doctor.
Mrs Aiken revealed that she was diagnosed with a meningioma — one of the most common forms of brain tumour — in February 2013. But, she was fortunate to have made a full recovery following surgery to remove the tumour, aside from occasional episodes of blurred vision.
Nickie Aiken’s brain tumour diagnosis
In 2013, Nickie was working in public relations alongside being a councillor and Cabinet Minister for Public Protection & Licensing at Westminster City Council when she started having vision problems. She saw her optician who said that she was having visual migraines.
Nickie said: “I was on my way home from taking my children, who were six and eight at the time, to school when I started seeing unusual flashing lights in my peripheral vision. I needed my neighbour to help me turn the alarm off when I got back to my flat. I then had to lie down as I was exhausted and I still was the next day. It happened a few times over the next year which I put down to being really busy and possibly stressed.”
Recovering from surgery
Nickie said that the most difficult part of her experience was recovering from surgery. She had three months off work as she contended with exhaustion which meant walking even a few yards was a feat. She was keen to maintain a usual routine at home for her family during that time. So she welcomed the support of others to help her with the school runs and taking the children to extra-curricular activities. It was six months before Nickie felt fully recovered.
Nickie has now made a full recovery aside from occasional bouts of blurred vision once or twice a year, which she says can hit when she is busy or stressed.
Supporting Better Safe Than Tumour
Aiken, who has been MP for Cities of London and Westminster since December 2019, is backing greater awareness of the impact of brain tumours. She urged the public to get to know the ‘warning signs’ to look out for as it could help ensure more people get the treatment they need as soon as possible.
“The Brain Tumour Charity’s ‘Better Safe Than Tumour’ campaign is needed more than ever. In light of the growing number of people being diagnosed with a brain tumour, we urgently need more people to know what to do if they are regularly experiencing a symptoms or a combination of symptoms. I applaud them for taking action to tackle this gap in public knowledge.
“I was terrified when I was first diagnosed with a brain tumour. I knew so little about them at that time which just fuelled my fear. But now I know that a brain tumour diagnosis isn’t a death sentence – I have made a full recovery which I am very grateful for.
“If more people know about brain tumours as well as the warning signs to look out for then we can ensure more people get the treatment they need sooner from the medical professionals we can trust.”