Mother of Co Armagh woman who died after battling an incurable brain tumour appeals for support for research into earlier diagnosis

Christine O'Carroll from Tandragee passed away on September 4 2016, aged just 31

THE mother of a Co Armagh woman who died after battling an incurable brain tumour has appealed to people to support their fundraising campaign for research into earlier diagnosis.

Christine O'Carroll from Tandragee was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour in March 2013.

The pharmacist underwent emergency surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. But she passed away on in September 2016, aged just 31.

Since her death, her parents Betty and Raphael established the Christine O'Carroll Research Fund to honour their daughter and raise money for brain tumour research.

Statistics show brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of people aged under 40 and unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last four decades.

Betty O'Carroll said her daughter's symptoms were missed many times.

"Christine had severe headaches, right sided seizures and strange images for 18 months prior to diagnosis, leading to five GP appointments," she said.

"Her symptoms were put down to panic attacks and depressions, a diagnosis despite Christine stating that she was not depressed.

"After a few days of being particularly unwell and visiting the hospital, she was given a CAT head scan, which showed a large brain tumour.

"Two weeks later she had an awake brain surgery to remove some of the tumour, followed by 30 sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and later stereotactic radiosurgery, which caused a large swelling of fluid on her brain.

"Christine had a successful career as a pharmacist in Manchester after studying pharmacy in Queen's, she was due to buy her

first house days after diagnosis, she was unable to get a mortgage, work, go on holidays or socialise as she previously loved."

Mrs O'Carroll said the family believe an earlier diagnosis would have helped.

"Christine's neurosurgeon told her that the right sided tingling that she suffered is a clear indicator of a left sided brain tumour - if it had been picked up earlier her prognosis would have been much better," she said.

"This is why the medical professional, especially GPs as they are the first point of contact, need educated in the early symptoms of brain cancer."

The Christine O'Carroll Research Fund supports the Brain Tumour Charity in raising funds for pioneering research into better ways to earlier diagnose and treat brain tumours.

They are hosting a Twilight Walk at Lurgan Park on October 7 to raise funds for the charity.

Geraldine Pipping from the Brain Tumour Charity said: "Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and, unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last 40 years.

"We are leading the way in changing this and truly fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work.

"Through the efforts of people like Christine's family that we can change these shocking statistics in the future and bring hope to the thousands of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year."

For information, please visit the Christine O'Carroll Research Fund on Facebook.

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