Health & Lifestyle

Six little known brain tumour warning signs revealed after Annabel Giles died just four months after diagnosis

  • Annabel Giles was diagnosed with a stage 4 Glioblastoma in July earlier this year
  • Around 2,500 people are diagnosed every year in the UK with glioblastoma 

TV presenter Annabel Giles has died aged 64 following a battle with an ‘aggressive’ brain tumour diagnosed just four months ago, her family revealed last night.

The actress was best known for co-presenting ITV‘s Posh Frocks and New Trousers with Sarah Greene and also appeared on a number of panel and reality shows over the years.

She was diagnosed in July with stage 4 glioblastoma, a type of fast-growing brain tumour that can carry a life expectancy of just months after it is spotted.

Annabel underwent brain surgery and radiotherapy and became ‘passionate’ about raising awareness for her condition as part of a ‘lifelong commitment to helping others’. 

Around 2,500 people are diagnosed every year in the UK with glioblastoma, while the figure is 12,000 in the US. 

Here, MailOnline reveals the warning signs of a glioblastoma brain tumour. 

Brain tumours can trigger personality changes, especially if it is located in the frontal lobe of the brain, which regulates personality and emotions. It can also cause communication problems, seizures and fatigue

Brain tumours can trigger personality changes, especially if it is located in the frontal lobe of the brain, which regulates personality and emotions. It can also cause communication problems, seizures and fatigue

Annabel on Good Morning Britain in London last year, before she was diagnosed with a brain tumour

Annabel on Good Morning Britain in London last year, before she was diagnosed with a brain tumour 

Personality changes 

As a brain tumour swells and grows, it puts pressure on the healthy brain cells around it, which can affect the brain’s function. 

This can trigger personality changes, especially if the tumour is located in the frontal lobe of the brain, which regulates personality and emotions.

Common changes in temperament include increased irritability, aggression, confusion and forgetfulness, as well as mood swings and a lack of interest and motivation.

If the tumour is growing near the pituitary gland, it can cause changes in hormone levels. This can have a big impact on emotions and sex drive, according to the Brain Tumour Charity. 

WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA?

Glioblastomas are the most common cancerous brain tumours in adults.

They are fast growing and likely to spread. 

Glioblastomas’ cause is unknown but may be related to a sufferer’s genes if mutations result in cells growing uncontrollably, forming a tumour.

Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by a combination of radio- and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).

It can be difficult to remove all of the growth as glioblastomas have tendrils that extend to other regions of the brain. These are targeted via chemoradiation. 

Glioblastomas are often resistant to treatment as they are usually made up of different types of cells. Therefore, medication will kill off some cells and not others. 

The average survival time is between 12 and 18 months.

Source: The Brain Tumour Charity

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Fatigue

Brain tumours can cause extreme tiredness, leading to aching muscles, exhaustion after competing small tasks and over-sleeping. 

Tiredness can make it harder to make decisions, think clearly and may trigger anxiety or depression

That’s because the growing of a tumour and the body’s response to it involves the destruction of tumour cells and the repairing of tissue, which uses a lot of energy, says the Brain Tumour Charity. 

This means your body is working harder and is putting energy that is usually required for everyday tasks into fighting the tumour. 

But this tiredness can also be caused by trying to overcome the difficulties in remembering and solving problems, which can also drain energy.  

Communication difficulties 

Forgetting words, losing the thread of a conversation or struggling with speaking are all signs of communication difficulties.  

As many as one in five people who have a brain tumour also experience this symptom, though it depends on where their tumour is located, the Brain Tumour Charity says. 

The frontal lobe is involved in language production and the temporal lobe is involved in understanding language. If a tumour is in either of those locations, pressure from the tumour is likely to cause problems. 

If it is located in the left hemisphere, it may trigger language and speech difficulties, as this is where the language areas are generally found, according to the charity.

Memory difficulties 

Having trouble remembering things both long-term and short-term can be caused by a brain tumour or treatment for it.

The Brain Tumour Charity estimates that half of sufferers will experience these symptoms.

It can cause the loss of memories formed before the tumour formed or the treatment began. The tumour may also cause difficulty in recalling memories after you had a brain tumour or the treatment. 

Annabel Giles formerly starred in a series of ITV 's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

Annabel Giles formerly starred in a series of ITV ‘s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

She went on to star as a panellist on numerous entertainment shows such as Have I Got News For You and Through The Keyhole. Pictured: Annabel Giles appearing on ITV's Good Morning Britain in August 2019

She went on to star as a panellist on numerous entertainment shows such as Have I Got News For You and Through The Keyhole. Pictured: Annabel Giles appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in August 2019

If the tumour is in the frontal or temporal lobe it is more likely someone will experience memory loss. 

The symptoms can also be caused by treatment if a surgeon had to remove cells responsible for memory.  

Seizures

Up to two in three people diagnosed with a brain tumour will experience epilepsy or a brain tumour seizure, says the Brain Tumour Charity. 

It is the most common first symptom that leads to a brain tumour diagnosis in adults. 

A seizure happens when there is a burst of abnormal electrical activity that disturbs the way the brain normally works.

If you have repeated seizures, it can be diagnosed as brain-tumour related epilepsy. 

When most people think of a seizure, they imagine a convulsive seizure, where someone loses consciousness, their limbs jerk and body goes stiff. 

But there are many types of seizures. They can trigger a feeling of deja vu, strange tastes and smells, a feeling of being spaced out and strange vision, such as seeing flashing lights.  

Sight problems  

Brain tumours can cause a variety of vison problems, such as vision loss, dry eyes, double vision and light sensitivity. 

One in three people with a brain tumour report problems with their vision, says the Brain Tumour Charity.   

It can be caused by the position of the tumour. For example, if the tumour causes swelling on the optic disc at the back of the eye, it can cause vison problems. 

A growing tumour can also squeeze healthy brain tissue, including the main cranial nerves in the brain.

This can cause pressure on the optic nerve, as a result, affecting your vision. 


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