‘You have to keep fighting’: Caprice reveals she reached out to Tom Parker following his terminal brain tumour diagnosis after battling the condition herself
Caprice has revealed she reached out to The Wanted’s Tom Parker following his terminal brain tumour diagnosis.
The model, 48, had a benign brain tumour herself that was removed during surgery three years ago and still lives in fear it may return.
Tom, 32, announced on Instagram on Monday that he has been diagnosed with the terminal and inoperable condition – where life expectancy ranges from three to 18 months.
Supportive: Caprice has revealed she reached out to The Wanted’s Tom Parker following his terminal brain tumour diagnosis after she battled a benign tumour herself
The singer, who is expecting his second child with wife Kelsey, said the family were ‘devastated’ but vowed to ‘raise awareness of this terrible disease’ and ‘fight this all the way’ for the sake of his pregnant wife and their daughter.
When she heard the news, Caprice got in touch with the family after finding the revelation particularly heartbreaking due to her own terrifying experience.
She told The Sun: ‘It felt like the right thing to do. I don’t know him, but I felt deeply for him because I’ve been right there.
‘Most people have no idea that brain cancer is the top cancer killer of those under 40.’
Devastating: Tom announced on Instagram on Monday that he has been diagnosed with a terminal and inoperable brain tumour (pictured with his pregnant wife Kelsey and their daughter Aurelia, 15 months)
After her own heartbreaking experience, Caprice became patron of Brain Tumour Research, helping to highlight the need for more research.
She added: ‘We have to find a cure for this evil, evil disease. I want to say to Tom and anyone else in his position, don’t give up…
‘Giving up is not an option. These aren’t just empty words, they come from my soul. You have to keep fighting and living.’
Illness: Caprice’s tumour, although it proved benign, was dangerously fast-growing and risked leaving her blind and paralysed (pictured in hospital after surgery to remove it in 2018)
Caprice’s tumour, although it proved benign, was dangerously fast-growing and risked leaving her blind and paralysed.
The star was filming TV series The Jump in Innsbruck in February 2017 when she began experiencing odd symptoms, which at first she put down to a tough regime learning the slalom, skeleton and ski-jump.
‘I had a pain in my ribs that was getting worse every time I took a breath,’ she recalled at the time. ‘I had headaches that weren’t going away, and my vision was getting blurred.
‘But I just thought it was because I had banged my head so many times during training.’
The programme’s doctor insisted she went to hospital, where she had X-rays, an ultrasound and a CT scan.
‘The neurosurgeon came in, sat down and said: ‘We have the results of your CAT scan. You have a brain tumour.’
Removing it required more than seven hours of risky surgery, which in itself could have had devastating consequences.
‘My diagnosis was the scariest time in my life,’ she admitted in an interview in 2018. ‘My first thought was for my two little boys. I had no idea what was in store. I feared I’d leave them without a mum.
‘I’m a tough girl, a survivor, a grafter. I’m not dramatic or emotional. I’ve made my own money from the second I left high school. But for the first time in my life, I’ve realised that I am not totally in control.
‘I have to have annual check-ups for the next four years to ensure the tumour doesn’t return.’
Growing family: Tom, 32, who is expecting his second child with wife Kelsey, said the family were ‘devastated’ but vowed to ‘raise awareness of this terrible disease’
Meanwhile, Tom revealed his terminal diagnosis on Monday as he posted a photo with his wife and their daughter, Aurelia Rose, 15 months.
He wrote: ‘Hey guys, you know that we’ve both been quiet on social media for a few weeks and it’s time to tell you why.
‘There’s no easy way to say this but I’ve sadly been diagnosed with a Brain Tumour and I’m already undergoing treatment.
‘We decided, after a lot of thought, that rather than hiding away and trying to keep it a secret, we would do one interview where we could lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way.
‘We are going to beat this’: In an emotional statement earlier this week Tom revealed he was undergoing treatment and vowed to beat the deadly disease
‘We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way. We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options.
‘It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this. Tom and Kelsey xxx.’
Glioblastoma is considered the most aggressive tumour that can form in the brain.
Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by a combination of radio- and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).
Tom told OK! Magazine he underwent tests after he began suffering unexplained seizures, with doctors giving the family the ‘worst case scenario’ and revealing he had a grade four glioblastoma when they were on a staycation in Norwich just six weeks ago.
Tom said he was still in ‘complete shock’ from the devastating diagnosis, with Kelsey adding the couple ‘knew’ something was wrong in July’ but would never have imagined he could have a tumour’.
Tom said: ‘I knew something wasn’t right, but I never expected it to be this. You never think this will happen to you.’
The star visited A&E after having his first seizure, where he complained of having a bad back and had a mark on his head.
Tom was then sent home but felt like he had concussion, with the singer returning to hospital the following week and put on a waiting list to have an MRI.
The family went on holiday to Norwich in August with Tom enduring another ‘much worse’ seizure, six weeks after the first one.
His biggest priority: Tom has vowed to be there for his children’s future by fighting the disease as hard as he can
Kelsey said she and Tom had to ‘push’ for paramedic to come, with Tom having an MRI when he arrived.
He added that he was told he would be out in four hours but ended up being there for three days having tests.
Discussing the moment he was given his devastating diagnosis, he said: ‘A couple of days later, when we were still on holiday. Kelsey couldn’t come in because of Covid.
‘They pulled the curtain around my bed and said, ‘It’s a brain tumour.’ All I could think was, ‘F*****g hell!’ I was in shock. It’s stage four glioblastoma and they’ve said its terminal. It was a lot to deal with by myself. I still haven’t processed it.
Kelsey said: ‘It was horrendous. They rang me and told me over the phone. They said, ‘It’s a tumour and it’s worst-case scenario.’
The Wanted: Tom rose to fame as a singer in boy band The Wanted in 2009, before they went on hiatus in 2014 (pictured in 2013 with L-R Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George and Jay McGuiness)
‘They also told us it was inoperable and what the treatment would be. I was in a complete state. All I could think was, ‘What’s going to happen and what is our life now?’
Tom is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment in a bid to shrink the tumour at King’s College Hospital in London which he says has been ‘intense and tiring’.
Kelsey said more tumours will ‘probably pop up’ and that Tom could live with the disease for the rest of his life, undergoing treatment to shrink tumours.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, Kelsey is not allowed to accompany him to treatment.
The couple added they have not asked about a prognosis, with Kelsey saying it would not be good for Tom’s state of mind, and that he would ‘sit and count down the days and not live his life’.
WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA AND JUST HOW DEADLY IS IT? THE AGGRESSIVE BRAIN TUMOR SUFFERED BY JOHN MCCAIN
Senator John McCain was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in July 2017
Glioblastoma is considered the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with one in July 2017.
Patients have a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after their diagnosis, according to figures. The average lifespan is between 14 and 16 months.
Three adults per every 100,000 will be struck down with a glioblastoma, says The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
It is most commonly found in men aged 50 to 60, and there is no link between developing glioblastoma and having a previous history with other cancers.
WHAT IS THE TUMOR MADE OF?
The tumor is made up of a mass of cells growing quickly in the brain, and in most cases patients have no family history of the disease.
It won’t spread to other organs, however, once it is diagnosed, it is nearly impossible to target, surgeons claim.
Unlike other types of brain cancer which are more specifically located, glioblastoma can occur in any part of the brain.
WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?
Because the tumor likely already spread deep into the brain by the time it is diagnosed, the cancerous tissue is incredibly difficult to remove.
Surgeon will only ever remove the tumor, or part of the tumor, if it won’t do any damage to the surrounding brain tissue.
Dr Babcar Cisse, a neurosurgeon at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, told Daily Mail Online in July 2017: ‘By the time a glioblastoma is diagnosed, microfibers can spread to the rest of the brain which an MRI would not spot.
‘So even if the main tumor is removed and the patient receives radiation and chemotherapy, it will come back.’
GRADING A GLIOBLASTOMA
Brain tumors are graded from between one to four, depending on how fast they grow and how aggressive they are.
Malignant tumors are either given a high-grade three or four, while benign ones are given a lower grade one or two.
Glioblastoma is often referred to as a grade four astrocytoma – another form of brain tumor, says the AANS.
Patients typically complain of symptoms such as confused vision, trouble with memory, dizziness and headaches.
The symptoms are somewhat nonspecific, and vary from person to person, and may not persist.
The disease is therefore impossible to diagnose based on symptoms alone.
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