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Surgery was arranged within weeks of the initial discovery, and Christine had her operation in May.
“I was amazed at the speed of the process. I appreciated the determination by Professor Jenkinson and the staff at The Walton Centre to get the tumour removed as soon as possible.”
As part of her treatment, Christine took part in a study involving a drink which helps surgeons distinguish between healthy tissue and the tumour – which can be difficult to do with brain tissue. ‘The Pink Drink’, called 5-ALA (branded as Gliolan), is diluted in water and drunk by the patient prior to surgery. The 5-ALA is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the brain and the tumour. Under blue ultraviolet light, the solution makes the tumour glow pink or red, showing the surgeon where the edges of the tumour are.
Professor Jenkinson said: “5-ALA is a fantastic tool we use in the removal of tumours. We use scans and images of the brain to navigate our way to the tumour, but sometimes it can be difficult discerning between healthy tissue and tumour, so caution is always necessary to avoid damaging the brain. By using the drink we can remove more cancerous tissue, therefore improving the patient’s chances of survival.”
After her surgery, Christine, who is a tissue viability nurse in Southport, recovered on Dott Ward. She said: “The staff on Dott were so supportive and helpful. Prof Jenkinson came to see me soon after the operation and told me all of the tumour that was revealed by the pink drink had been removed. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that everything went well. I was nervous to see how being on the other side of nursing would be, but the level of care I received was exceptional – I can’t thank them enough!”
Christine is now continuing her treatment with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
According to The Brain Tumour Charity, studies show that in 70.5% of cases when the pink drink is used, surgeons manage to remove the entire tumour – up from around 30% without the use of 5-ALA.
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