A couple living in Blackheath have made the decision not to have children due to uncertainty of the future when living with brain cancer.

After being diagnosed with headaches, depression and low blood pressure initially, 36-year-old Helen Hannam was diagnosed with a brain tumour following her first seizure.

Helen was initially relieved to discover her life-threatening diagnosis, as she had grappled with numerous misdiagnoses before doctors found a mass in her brain.

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Helen's malign diagnosis was triggered by severe headaches and tunnel vision which initially led her to an optician, but the issue was misdiagnosed as an ocular migraine.

Continuing headaches led her to a GP who attributed the symptoms to low blood pressure, and further persistence led to her being diagnosed with depression.

However, Helen, 36, experienced her first seizure shortly after re-registering at a new doctor's surgery.

Hospital tests revealed that she had a brain tumour so large, that she had been four to six weeks away from death.

Post-diagnosis, Helen endured an 11-and-a-half-hour craniotomy and multiple sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Unpredictable health issues persisted, leading to an emergency surgery due to a brain bleed.

Following her operation, Helen was unable to walk, talk or write, leading her to move from London to be closer to family support.

Helen said: “It was pretty serious.

"I couldn’t recognise anyone and wasn’t talking sense.

"I was going downhill so fast my parents thought I was dying in front of their eyes.

"I even had the last rights read to me at one point.”

An ongoing fight against the brain tumour led Helen and her husband, Mark, to the painful decision of not having children.

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Helen said: “We both feel it would be unfair to bring a child into the world knowing how uncertain my future is.

"I’ve still got brain cancer, I’ve still got a hole in my head and I still have seizures.

"It’s been an incredibly difficult decision, though.”

Despite everything, Helen is grateful for her life and refuses to let the disease defeat her.

To mark her symptoms' eight-year anniversary, Helen is campaigning with the charity Brain Tumour Research, soliciting signatures for its petition to increase research funds.

Helen, originally from Towcester in Northamptonshire, urges everyone to sign the Brain Tumour Research charity petition in the hope of prompting a parliamentary debate.

The charity requests that the Government ring-fence £110 million of present and new funding to initiate an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research.

This investment should reach £35 million a year by 2028, placing brain tumours at the same funding level as cancers of the breast, bowel and lung as well as leukaemia.

Coining the campaign as a "lifesaver", Helen urges everyone to sign the petition, which will close at the end of October 2023.

She firmly believes that no one should have to suffer the same ordeal.