A MAN from Dudley was diagnosed with a brain tumour by opticians after a free eye test, with doctors repeatedly failing to spot the signs.

Dan Horrocks is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research and sharing his remarkable story ten years on to mark his 30th birthday.

At the time, Dan was studying politics at Aston University in Birmingham when he started to have daily headaches.

His symptoms were misdiagnosed as an ear imbalance, a trapped nerve and even depression.

Dudley News: Dan and Sonia's wedding day. Pic: Brain Tumour Research Dan and Sonia's wedding day. Pic: Brain Tumour Research

An optician at the Merry Hill branch of Vision Express identified a sign of a tumour - pressure on the optic nerve - and made an emergency referral to A&E.

Dan, who now lives in Fulham said: “I can honestly say that a voucher from Vision Express opticians saved my life; it dropped through my letterbox offering me a free eye test.

"Never one to pass up a freebie I took up the offer. I had been to numerous GP appointments but seemed nowhere near to getting to the bottom of what was causing my crippling headaches."

A subsequent scan identified a grade three ependymoma brain tumour.

Dudley News: Dan during radiotherapy. Pic: Brain Tumour Research Dan during radiotherapy. Pic: Brain Tumour Research

Within days he was in surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and has since had two further operations and radiotherapy there plus further radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea.

Dan works as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster and married his partner Sonia in a scaled-down COVID-secure ceremony in Chelsea in July.

He added: “My most recent treatment finished in November 2018 and while I continue to have check-ups things are good now.

"Although I know my tumour will probably come back at some stage, I am optimistic about the future. I have lived with the disease for ten years and have tried my best to enjoy my life.

Dudley News: Dan works as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster. Pic: Brain Tumour Research Dan works as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster. Pic: Brain Tumour Research

“Prior to her death from a brain tumour three years ago, Dame Tessa Jowell did a great deal to highlight this awful disease and she certainly helped to fuel interest. I think it is a dreadful injustice that, historically, just 1 percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease particularly when it kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“I hope that sharing my story will continue to highlight this injustice and that people who, like me, have unexplained symptoms continue to push for a diagnosis.”

Brain Tumour Research campaigns for the government, and the larger cancer charities, to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and to find a cure.

Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to Dan for sharing his story and working with us in order to raise awareness of this devastating disease. We wish him and Sonia all the very best.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research, visit braintumourresearch.org/donation