WHEN dad Andrew Smith started to need different size shoes at the age of 52, his daughters became concerned.
The father-of-four went from a size 11 shoe to a size 15 in the space of around three months.
After an excessive six-month growth spurt and a change in personality, Andrew now 60, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014.
His youngest daughter, Sarah Smith, gesê: “Dad would get very short-tempered and would go from zero to 10 within seconds.
“It was like he was a completely different person at times and, because it was on the growth part of his brain, his whole body grew.”
Andrew was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which forms in or on the pituitary gland.
This is a small structure that is attached to the base of the brain behind the nose.
Experts at Brain Tumour Research say that they are not officially classified as brain tumours but fall within the category of endocrine (hormone) system tumours: which means that these patients get extra care.
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Dr Karen Noble, director of research, policy and innovation at Brain Tumour Research, gesê: “Brain tumours kill more children and young people under 40 than any other cancer and are indiscriminate, affecting anyone at any time.
“We see all sorts of symptoms as a result of this devastating disease, including those from pituitary tumours which can cause an overproduction of growth hormones.”
Sarah said that her dad’s growth spurt happened really fast.
Sy het gese: “He went to a ridiculous size and looked like a giant. His growth was out of control.
“He went from a size 11 shoe to a size 15 and from 6ft 5in tall to 7ft 6in. It all happened quite quickly, over about six months.
“He also gained a lot of weight and there’s talk now that he might be able to have an operation to reduce some of the flab he put on.”
What is a pituitary gland tumour?
Pituitary tumours start in the pituitary gland, which produces and helps regulate hormones.
Pituitary tumours, sometimes called adenomas, are usually benign (non-cancerous).
Symptoms can be caused by a tumour producing extra hormones, or by not producing enough hormones. Other symptoms can be caused by the tumour pressing on the optic (oog) nerve.
These include headaches and vision problems.
To diagnose a pituitary tumour, you will need different tests.
These include blood tests, eye tests, and a CT scan or MRI scan.
Your specialist will talk to you about the best treatment for you and explain its benefits and disadvantages. Surgery is the most common treatment.
The operation is done through the nose without having to open the skull.
Radiotherapy is sometimes used after surgery.
Some people with small tumours may have a specialised type of targeted radiotherapy called stereotactic radiosurgery.
Doctors often treat tumours that produce a hormone called prolactin with drugs that reduce prolactin levels.
If the whole pituitary gland is removed, you will need to take drugs to replace the hormones that are normally produced (hormone replacement).
Sarah said that her dad has his tumour removed and was put in an induced coma when he came out of the operation.
Sy het bygevoeg: “He can’t work now and gets tired very easily but he’s what they call in remission and only has to go for check-ups every now and then.”
The South-London family has been inspired by their father’s journey and Sarah and her sister Sharon, 47 are marking Brain Tumour Awareness Month by taking part in Wear a Hat Day aan 25 March in aid of the Brain Tumour Research charity.
In order to mark the occasion in style they will be strutting up and down London Bridge in clown hats.
The sisters have launched a JustGiving page to try and raise money for their cause.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, gesê: “It’s great to hear that Andrew’s doing so well after everything he’s been through.
“His story is an incredible one and serves as a reminder of just how varied brain tumours and their symptoms can be.
“We really appreciate the support of his daughters and hope their planned Wear a Hat Day event on London Bridge is as fun as it sounds it will be.”
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