But Richard Preston from Waterlooville has survived more than seven years since he was first diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in November 2013.
The 51-year-old went to the opticians in a bid to discover what was causing his headaches. The same afternoon he was sent to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and a scan revealed a tumour the size of a large apricot in his brain.
Richard underwent a five-hour, high-risk operation just five days later before enduring 11 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy during 2014,
He said: ‘I know I am very lucky to still be alive as the normal survival prognosis for GBM is between 12 and 15 months.
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‘I don’t know why I am a long-term survivor. I know I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, coffee or tea, but I don’t eat particularly healthily either. My wife Wendy and I don’t enjoy cooking and rely on ready meals which we heat up in the microwave. Our idea of creativity is putting a heated-up shepherd’s pie under the grill to make the top go crispy!’
The long-term effects of living with a brain tumour, including short-term memory loss and fatigue, has meant Richard had to give up his job working for internet provider KCOM but he know he is one of the lucky ones.
Just 12 per cent of brain tumour patients survive more than five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers, yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Richard is backing a petition by Brain Tumour Research that is calling for a national annual spend of £35m to help improve survival rates.
He added: ‘Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and the only way to change that is through research to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure.
‘No one can explain why I am continuing to survive this deadly type of brain tumour which is why I am working with the charity Brain Tumour Research.’
To sign the petition visit braintumourresearch.org/campaigning/brain-tumour-research-petition