Belfast Telegraph

'Inoperable' brain tumour man given a new chance of life

By Victoria O'Hara

A man who was told he had an inoperable brain tumour by Belfast Health Trust believes he had his life saved by a “routine procedure” in a private clinic in Dublin.

Jai Nelson, from Co Antrim, was diagnosed 18 months ago with grade four glioblastoma— a tumour on the surface of his brain.

The 41-year-old was told a neurosurgeon in Belfast could not operate on the tumour, which was on the right side of his brain, as removing it could paralyse him or cause him to lose his speech or sight.

Instead, he went through six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The common and aggressive tumour was reduced by 50% after treatment.

But after successful surgery in Dublin he said he has been “given a second chance”.

Mr Nelson said he believes the Belfast Trust's decision was due to a lack of money. “They told me it was just too risky, I could suffer a stroke or lose my speech,” he said.

In a statement the Trust said there was “no proven evidence that surgery in this setting was beneficial”.

A second opinion was offered within the NHS, however Mr Nelson was seen privately in March 2010 by a Dublin neurosurgeon Chris Mascott. Mr Mascott, based at Beacon private clinic, in Stoneyford was recommended to him through another patient who had been diagnosed with a tumour.

Mr Nelson’s wife, Fiona, said she immediately contacted Mr Mascott and the couple travelled down the next day. Mr Mascott said it was routine.

“It wasn't difficult, the tumour was on the surface of the brain, it wasn't deep and it wasn't wrapped in arteries.”

“Why surgeons didn't do it at the Royal — I don't understand, but I suppose every surgeon is different,” he said.

Dr Tony Stevens, from the Belfast Health Trust, said: “Our cancer specialist have followed the best international guidelines,” he said. I can provide a reassurance that we were working to the highest standards.”

Mr Nelson who is receiving “fantastic” aftercare said consultant oncologist and surgeons in Belfast and Dublin saved his life.

Belfast Telegraph

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