Stoke-on-Trent Patient Survives Brain Tumour Against All Odds


An 81-year old mum has survived against all odds after being diagnosed with an aggressive grade 4 brain tumour in February 2019 thanks to the dedication of the cancer team at University Hospital of North Midlands.

Irene Cantrell, of Weston Coyney, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2019 and was referred to experts from the Oncology and Radiotherapy at Royal Stoke University Hospital who gave brain radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. Now her daughter, Donna Cantrell, 44, also from Weston Coyney has thanked staff for their incredible work and even made them a homemade cake in the shape of the radiotherapy machine her Mum had her treatment on.

Donna Cantrell said: “At the beginning of February 2019, my mum was a fit and healthy 79-year-old with no illnesses, no medication and living life to the full. By the end of February 2019, Mum lost the ability to talk and suffered seizures and even though we acted quickly with the onset of symptoms, Mum was diagnosed with a Grade 4 brain tumour. This type of tumour comes with a poor prognosis; however we adapted quickly, remained positive and faced each day with love, happiness and true determination and fight.

“Two years on and against the odds, my mum is now 81 year old, she is still walking, talking, potting plants and living a happy life with true strength, courage and more fight than ever. We know the ending of this sad journey is not too far away but we have made so many memories and we will fight as a family to the bitter end. The Oncology Team at UHNM have been amazing throughout. Dr Joseph, Catharine James and Paula Bee have been truly fantastic, along with everyone in Radiotherapy; everyone becomes an extension to the family.

“To anyone living with cancer, or supporting a loved one with cancer, stay strong; stay positive, you’ve got this.”

Kelly Hill, Chief Dosimetrist said: “The diagnosis of a brain tumour can be scary and devastating for families, but there is always hope and we have been fortunate to have patients who have survived to tell the tale and give hope to others. The neuro oncology and radiotherapy team at UHNM were delighted to receive a brilliant cake made by a patient’s daughter to say thank you for the treatment her mum had received for her brain tumour. We have never seen such a brilliant designed cake before, the team were really pleased with the outcome of Donna’s mum and really appreciate the gift.”

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. They occur as a result of an abnormal growth or spread of cells from within the brain or its supporting tissues that can damage the brain or threaten its function. Brain tumours are divided into four classifications – grades 1 and 2 are low-grade, grades 3 and 4 are classed as high-grade.