Man with headache diagnosed with brain cancer after a visit to the optician
Man with headache diagnosed with brain cancer after a visit to the optician

Man with headache diagnosed with brain cancer after a visit to the optician

  • A man was diagnosed with brain cancer after experiencing blurred vision and going to an optician.
  • The optician found warning signs in the back of the eye that may be caused by a tumor.
  • Doctors diagnosed Matt Voice with brain cancer and he underwent emergency surgery to remove 70% of the tumor.

A man suffering from brain cancer said an appointment with an optician saved his life.

Matt Voice, 40, a former mechanic from the UK, has suffered from headaches and dizziness for seven years since he was 32.

In April 2020, Voice’s headaches became excruciating, he began unexpectedly collapsing, and “blind spots” clouded his vision. He had an episode, while driving, when he felt sick and his vision blurred so much that he had to pull over.

“I started having convulsions and the light was going out in my eyes. It was horrific for my children – Mason, 11, and Darcy, 15 – to witness,” he told UK news agency SWNS.

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The Voice said doctors believed his blackouts and changes in vision were caused by blood pressure problems.

However, as her vision worsened, Voice sought an optician’s appointment, which was almost canceled due to the COVID restrictions at the time.

“But I pushed myself to go,” he said.

During the appointment, the eye doctor found warning signs that she might have a brain tumor or bleed.

Gliomas cause symptoms such as vomiting by pressing on the brain

The optician referred Voice to an eye clinic at a local hospital, and in May 2020, doctors diagnosed him with a brain cancer called astrocytoma, which arises from cells that surround nerve cells in the brain.

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“I was told it was on the left and right side of my brain and that it would become aggressive,” Voice said.

Astrocytomas are a type of brain cancer called glioma. About 33 percent of brain cancers are gliomas, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Brain cancers are rare, and the chance that a person in the US will develop a malignant brain or spinal cord tumor in their lifetime is less than 1 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Gliomas cause symptoms by pressing on the brain or spinal cord. The most common symptoms, which can come on slowly and be subtle, include: headaches, seizures, personality changes, arm, face or leg weakness and speech problems. They can also cause: vomiting, vision loss and dizziness, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The voice said: “I’m glad I went to the opticians when I did – otherwise I don’t think I’d be here for my children.”

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Voice had surgery to remove a fist-sized portion of the tumor

In July 2020, Voice underwent surgery to remove 70% of the tumor from his right side. He then had intensive radiotherapy for 6 weeks, followed by three sessions of chemotherapy until January 2021 when he could no longer take it.

“I lost all my hair and I could see the kids looking at me differently,” he said.

Although his cancer has been brought under control, Voice has short-term memory loss and mobility problems, meaning he can no longer work as a mechanic, uses a stairlift and lives with his mother, who is a part-time nurse.

He is awaiting the results of an MRI to see if the tumor has grown.

“I have to pray it won’t be every time,” he said.

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