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'Saved my life': Bridgnorth woman glad she went to Specsavers after £10 scan found tumour

A Bridgnorth mother of two has thanked her local branch of Specsavers after they discovered a brain tumour "the size of egg" following a £10 eye scan.

Clair Cains with her husband Nicholas

Health worker Clair Cains agreed to the scan as part of an eye examination and has said it may well have saved her life.

The 42-year-old said she was having headaches, nausea and blurred vision, but when the hearing loss also started, she knew she needed to get it checked and went along to her local Specsavers branch in Bridgnorth High Street.

Opticians used an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan, which allows for more detailed examination of the back of the eyes, that meant Clair was referred urgently to hospital where further scans revealed the large tumour.

Clair said: "‘I always have an OCT test done at my regular appointments – it’s only an extra £10 so I think it’s definitely worth it."

She added that in this instance, the OCT revealed a swelling behind the optic nerve in her left eye, indicating something was pressing on it, so she was referred to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital the same day, where the tumour was confirmed with an MRI scan.

"After a CT scan at hospital, they told me there was a shadow in my brain and I knew that’s not a good thing," said Clair.

"Then the MRI scan confirmed the tumour. I work in the NHS so I’m quite switched on to health matters, but when I was told it could be a tumour it was a complete surprise."

Fortunately for Clair, the meningioma discovered was still at a benign stage. Following surgery to remove most of the growth as well as a six-week follow-up course of radiotherapy, regular scans have shown the tumour is no longer growing.

"The tumour was the size of an egg and doctors believe it had been growing slowly for five or six years," said Clair.

"It’s obviously been a very difficult time – apart from everything else, I had to give up my driving licence when I was diagnosed, which has been challenging as we live in the middle of nowhere.

"But I am so grateful to Teresa and the Specsavers Bridgnorth team. The speed at which everything happened once I had been referred by them was amazing. I didn’t have a clue the tumour was there and I know what could have happened if it hadn’t been diagnosed then.

"For me, the early detection of the tumour could well have saved my life, and I am so thankful I decided to get that extra OCT scan."

Teresa Hughes, a director of the Brigdnorth High Street branch, said: "Mrs Cains credits the eye test and OCT for saving her life. As she said herself, ‘I never knew sight tests could pick up general health problems’."

She said she has since in touch with Clair since her treatment ended and said her condition is now stable and under review.

"She wanted to tell her story to raise awareness of the importance of scans and getting your eyes checked regularly," added Teresa.

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