A WOMAN has had her eye removed after she says her GP branded her an 'attention seeker'.
Vikki Hindley was just 16-years-old when she was struggling with headaches.
Now, 41, she said she was turned away by doctors before being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma – which had spread to the frontal lobe of her brain.
Squamous cell cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer and may require extensive surgery depending on the location.
This type of cancer is relatively slow-growing and cancerous tumours can often spread to the surrounding tissue if left untreated.
It may spread to the sinuses or skull base, or other areas of the brain, experts at Hopkins Medicine state.
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Vikki said: "I'd been suffering from headaches and nausea; I couldn't study or eat and I was losing so much weight.
''I went to the GP but I was told I was 'fine'. I went several times, and the GP told my mum I was anorexic and was attention seeking.
"I couldn't believe it. I thought 'are you joking?' I wasn't too bothered at the time as I was young and naïve but as I've got older, the way I was treated has made me angry."
Vikki had been living in Cornwall at the time with her mum and had been in Manchester during the summer holidays in 1997.
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She had been staying with her nan who took her to a local GP.
From there she was referred for tests at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Medics there performed a sinus wash and discovered a cancerous polyp.
She said: "I had an MRI scan and was bluntly told I had cancer.
''They said they couldn't operate because the squamous cell carcinoma had spread to the frontal lobe of my brain.
"I had chemotherapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester as Mum and I had moved back there. It was very intense and I lost my hair.
''I was constantly sick and everything I ate came straight back up. I went down to four stone so I needed to be put on a feeding tube.
"I also had radiotherapy which was awful. It burnt the side of my neck and the bottom half of my head.
''It also resulted in me losing my right eye and the hearing in my right ear. It was devastating. The older I got, the more the realisation set in just how poorly I was."
The symptoms of a brain tumour you need to know
THE NHS states that symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the part of the brain they are in.
Common symptoms include:
- seizures (fits)
- persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness
- mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
- progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- vision or speech problems
Guidance states that you might not show any symptoms to begin with, or that they might develop slowly over time.
Medics said that the cancer was also in Vikki's sinus and glands.
Because of her illness, she now suffers with a number of health issues including fibromyalgia and osteoporosis and has check-up appointments twice a year.
Now Vikki is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research and is doing the 10,000 Steps a Day in February to help find a cure for the disease.
She said: "It's so important to me because I'm still here and I'm so grateful. Research has helped me to be here. This challenge will be hard for me, but I'm determined to do it. If I can give back just a little bit, then it's all worth it."
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Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: "We're really grateful to Vikki for taking on the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge 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 like her who are forced to fight this awful disease."
Vikki has launched a funding page to raise money for the charity.
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