- The man was diagnosed with brain cancer after he had blurred vision and saw an optometrist.
- The optician found warning signs in the back of the eye that could be caused by a tumor.
- Doctors diagnosed Matt Voice with brain cancer and he had urgent surgery to remove 70% of the tumor.
A man who has brain cancer said visiting an optician saved his life.
Matt Voice, 40, a former UK mechanic, experienced headaches and dizziness for seven years at the age of 32.
In April 2020, Voice’s headaches became bothersome, he began to collapse unexpectedly, and “black spheres” stained his vision. He had one episode while driving where he felt sick and his vision became so blurry he had to pull over.
“I started to suffer from epileptic seizures and the light was fading in my eyes. It was terrible for my children – 11-year-old Mason and 15-year-old Darcy, ”he told UK news agency SWNS.
Voice said doctors believed his fainting and changes in vision were due to problems with his blood pressure.
However, as his eyesight deteriorated, Voice sought an optician appointment, which was nearly canceled due to COVID restrictions at the time.
“But I pressed you to leave,” he said.
During the visit, the ophthalmologist found warning signs that he might have a tumor or bleeding into the brain.
Gliomas cause symptoms such as vomiting by pressing down on the brain
The optician referred Voice to an eye clinic at a local hospital, and in May 2020, doctors diagnosed him with a brain cancer called astrocytoma, which arises from cells surrounding nerve cells in the brain.
“I was told it was on the left and right sides of my brain and that it would become aggressive,” said Voice.
Astrocytomas are a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 33% of brain tumors are gliomas. Brain tumors are rare, and a person in the US is less than 1% likely to develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Gliomas cause symptoms by pressing against the brain or spinal cord. The most common symptoms that may appear slowly and subtle are headaches, seizures, personality changes, weakness in the arms, face or legs, and speech problems. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, they can also cause vomiting, blindness, and dizziness.
The voice said, “I’m just glad I went to the optician when I did – otherwise I don’t think I’d be here for my kids.”
The voice underwent surgery to remove a fist-sized portion of the tumor
In July 2020, Voice underwent surgery to remove 70% of the tumor on the right side. He then underwent intensive radiation therapy for 6 weeks, followed by three sessions of chemotherapy until January 2021, when he could no longer tolerate it.
“I’ve lost all my hair and I’ve seen the kids look at me differently,” he said.
Although his cancer has been brought under control, Voice has short-term memory loss and mobility problems which means he can no longer work as a mechanic, uses a stairlift, and lives with his mother, who is a part-time nurse.
He is waiting for the MRI results to see if his tumor has grown.
“I just have to pray it doesn’t happen every time,” he said.