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EMF Studies

07 October 2016

Teenager Whose Mother Believed His Headaches Were from Playing Too Many Computer Games Is Diagnosed with a Brain Tumor After a Trip to the Opticins

Teenager whose mother believed his headaches were from playing too many computer games is diagnosed with a brain tumour after a trip to the opticians
by Stephen Matthews for Mail Online, 26 September 2016

  • Callum Salkeld had been suffering from constant headaches for months 
  • His parents took him to the GP, who had suggested seeing an optician
  • At his local Specsavers they told him he had swelling at the back of his eye
  • He was referred to hospital and diagnosed with a tumour just weeks later 

A teenager discovered he had a deadly brain tumour after a routine eye test - despite his mother blaming his headaches on his games console.

Callum Salkeld, 15, from Whitley Bay, had been suffering from constant headaches for a few months.

But his worried parents, Alison, 35, and Chris, 37, took him to the GP, who suggested going for an eye test.

At their local Specsavers in Cramlington, Northumberland, they were told he had swelling at the back of his eye and referred him to hospital.

Just weeks later he was diagnosed with a 2cm tumour and a cyst that was causing pressure in his brain.

Mrs Salkeld said: 'The optician saved his life – and I thought it was all down to spending too many hours on video games.'

The keen footballer started having headaches in September last year, shortly after he returned to school.

He had complained about his head being sore but his mother thought it was due to the time he spent on his PlayStation.

But she said she was 'never concerned about his eyesight' because she knew he could see.

But by December, he was having headaches more and more frequently and he had also been sick a few times.

He event spent Christmas being ill and was unable to play with his new Xbox his family bought him.

Mrs Salkeld was not worried when she took Callum to Specsavers as it was revealed his vision was 20/20.

Then optometrist Ruth Moore mentioned a very slight swelling in his optic nerve and referred him for a hospital consultation.

In January, Callum had a CT scan at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, which showed a benign tumour on his brain.

Although it was low grade, there was also a cyst which was pressing on his optic nerve.

The combined effect of the two was causing his headaches.

He was immediately put on a steroid drip to try and reduce the swelling and sent for an MRI scan, so they could get a better picture of the tumour.

The tumour was growing on his cerebellum - the part of the brain that affects co-ordination - and when they ran some tests, he struggled to walk in a straight line.

The next day, Callum was rushed into surgery and had a six hour operation to remove the tumour and the cyst.

Callum quickly recovered from the surgery and he left hospital just a week later.

Mrs Salkeld said: 'I was glad that they had found something. I was getting more and more concerned and it was a relief to have some sort of diagnosis.

'It was scary, but when I was in that situation, I just had to deal with it.

'It all happened so quickly that I didn't have much time to think about it. I didn't want to be too upset in front of him.'

Callum returned to school in mid-February and was back to playing football for his school and local team six weeks after his surgery.

He has a scar running along the back of his head and down his neck, from his brain surgery, but has otherwise made a full recovery.

Mrs Salkeld added: 'Callum was frustrated after his operation because he was in a lot of pain and he is usually very active.

'He couldn't walk across the room, so that was hard for him.

'He's very determined though and within a few days he was walking. He didn't want to just sit around.

'He actually seems better now than he did before.'

Now the family are grateful that the simple eye test spotted the tumour and saved his life.

Mrs Salkeld said: 'I had held back because he can see fine but the optician looks at so much more than whether or not you need glasses. It shows how important it is to go to the opticians regularly.'

Callum added: 'It was scary when I was diagnosed but I'm glad I had an eye test because it could have been really bad otherwise. I could see everything so I didn't think I needed one.'

Optometrist Ms Moore said: 'Regular eye tests can pick up a wide range of health issues, from high-blood pressure to life threatening conditions such as tumours.

'Fortunately, cases like Callum's are relatively rare, but recent research conducted by Specsavers has indicated that nearly one in four children in the UK have never been for an eye test, which is troubling.'

A benign brain tumour is a mass of cells that grows slowly in the brain. It usually stays in one place and does not spread.

The symptoms of a low-grade or benign brain tumour depend on how big it is and where it is in the brain.

Common symptoms include:
  • severe, persistent headaches
  • seizures (fits)
  • persistent nausea, 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 problems, or speech problems

Source: NHS Choices


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