Woman given devastating diagnosis after going for routine eye test at Specsavers

A grandma says her life was saved by a routine eye test after the optician spotted a brain tumour.

Susan Hetherington, 56, booked an appointment at Specsavers after experiencing blurriness and flashing lights.

But after some routine tests, the optician immediately referred her to Dudley Eye Hospital as a matter of urgency.

Further tests at City Hospital in Birmingham revealed a low-grade meningioma tumour which was removed to save her life.

Susan, from Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, said: “Three doctors entered the bay and told me they had found a mass on my brain – I was in disbelief.

“I couldn’t help but think about my four children and grandson, and about how I was going to tell them that their mum had a brain tumour.

“I cried the whole car journey home.

“At the time, I was expecting my second grandchild and could only think of wanting to be around to meet her.”

The tumour was spotted in July 2019, and Susan was scheduled for surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in November 2019.

The neurosurgeon told her there was a 10 per cent chance she could die or have a stroke on the operating table, she said.

Four days after the operation, Susan was sent home to recover.

She has been left with extreme fatigue and is now monitored with regular scans to check for regrowth of the tumour – but early signs are positive.

Susan has since joined Brain Tumour Research as a campaigner to help raise awareness of the lack of funding into research of the disease.

The former teaching assistant said: “My diagnosis has turned my world upside down, inside out and back to front.

“Everything I had I feel like I have lost.

“I almost feel a sense of guilt because I have a low-grade tumour.

“I know that other people are living with it much worse, but I want to shout my story from the rooftops as I feel that Specsavers saved my life.

“I would encourage everyone to have a regular eye test.

“More needs to be done to raise awareness of brain tumours and we need to understand how and why they happen.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, but just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to researching them.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Susan’s diagnosis and are grateful to her for sharing her story.

“We are reminded that brain tumours are often indiscriminate and any grade of tumour can be devastating for a person and their loved ones.

“We’re delighted to have Susan join us as we campaign for better treatment options for people living with this disease as we work towards finding a cure.”