Woman with brain tumour ‘dismissed’ by GP as an ‘attention seeker’

Vikki Hindley, 41, from Manchester, was turned away by her GP before being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour which caused her to lose an eye.

A woman who was dismissed by her GP as an “attention seeker” was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Vikki Hindley, 41, was turned away by her GP before being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour which caused her to lose an eye. Vikki, who was just 16 at the time, was eventually diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma which had spread to the frontal lobe of her brain.

She said: “I’d been suffering from headaches and nausea; I couldn’t study or eat and I was losing so much weight. I went to the GP but I was told I was ‘fine’. I went several times, and the GP told my mum I was anorexic and was attention seeking.

“I couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘Are you joking?’ I wasn’t too bothered at the time as I was young and naïve but as I’ve got older, the way I was treated has made me angry.”

Vikki, who now lives in Manchester, was living in Cornwall with her mum at the time. During her summer holiday in 1997, Vikki visited her nan in Manchester who took her to a local GP. He sent her to Wythenshawe Hospital for a sinus wash which found a cancerous polyp.

She said: “I had an MRI scan and was bluntly told I had cancer. ’They said they couldn’t operate because the squamous cell carcinoma had spread to the frontal lobe of my brain. I had chemotherapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester as Mum and I had moved back there. It was very intense and I lost my hair.

‘’I was constantly sick and everything I ate came straight back up. I went down to four stone so I needed to be put on a feeding tube. I also had radiotherapy which was awful. It burnt the side of my neck and the bottom half of my head.

‘’It also resulted in me losing my right eye and the hearing in my right ear. It was devastating. The older I got, the more the realisation set in just how poorly I was.”

The cancer was also in Vikki’s sinus and glands. She now suffers from a number of health problems, including fibromyalgia and osteoporosis. She has check-up appointments twice a year.

Vikki is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research and is doing the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge to help find a cure for the disease. She said: “It’s so important to me because I’m still here and I’m so grateful. Research has helped me to be here. This challenge will be hard for me, but I’m determined to do it. If I can give back just a little bit, then it’s all worth it.”

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We’re really grateful to Vikki for taking on the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like her who are forced to fight this awful disease.”

You can donate to Vikki’s fundraising page here. More information on how to join the challenge can be found here.