A mum whose daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer after being refused a brain scan is now campaigning for brain tumour diagnosis times to be reduced.
Aimee Willcox, from Somerset, took her daughter Lara to hospital back in June and July 2016, but she was twice sent back home despite having early morning vomiting, lethargy, neck pain and balance issues – which are all symptoms of a brain tumour.
‘As parents, we knew she was slipping away from us’, Aimee told The Mirror. ‘She was doing nothing at that point. She could not get up and was screaming in pain. Lara was a shell of herself.’
Lara was placed on a waiting list for an MRI scan, for which she would have to wait 11 weeks, but her mum took her to a different hospital where a scan showed that she had a brain tumour.
Aimee told Bristol Live: ‘By that point we could see the impact and she was fading away.
‘How had our daughter gone from chatty and bubbly, full of life, to not being interested in anything? She was not eating or drinking or playing with her brother.
‘We took her to Bristol out of sheer desperation. We didn’t know what else to do.’
The scan showed little Lara had a ‘sizeable’ tumour which was ‘pushing between her brain stem and spinal cord’.
Doctors said that the ‘build-up of fluid was so immense’ that they ‘were very grateful’ that Lara’s parents took her there.
March is brain tumour awareness month. Please share <3 231 Days ago today we were told the words "We have found a mass in Lara's head" Nothing can prepare you. Nothing. This picture I took of...
‘It was so frustrating to be told that. We had to beg the doctors [at RUH] to scan her, but they didn’t’, Aimee said.
After the diagnosis, Lara, who’s now four-years-old, was sent to Florida for proton beam therapy.
Two years later, the mum worries that her daughter’s case has not had an impact in brain tumour diagnosis, as a similar case did not receive an urgent scan in 2017.
‘I was assured… that the reason they did this report was to ensure no family went through the delay in diagnosis that we went through’, she told the BBC.
‘So I was so shocked to find out it had happened again a year later. I don’t think they’ve learned from what we went through.’