A MUM is on a mission to raise awareness of brain tumour symptoms after her little boy was diagnosed for the second time.
James Copping, from Kelvedon, was diagnosed with his first tumour in September 2014, aged just three.
The five-year-old is now facing his second tumour and mum Natalie Copping, 35, is supporting charity Head Start to reduce diagnosis time to four weeks or less.
She said: “James had symptoms six months before he was diagnosed. He had a head tilt and it was after that he had headaches, his balance was affected, he wasn’t eating, he had no energy and his mood would change, he was quite grumpy.
“We never knew the symptoms. We went to our GP who had no idea his symptoms were due to a brain tumour. It took us six weeks before he was diagnosed.
“I don’t blame the doctors for not picking up on it, there are thousands of conditions out there, but although tumours are rare they do happen.
“My son’s nursery even picked up on one we hadn’t seen. So many lives could be saved if children were diagnosed early.”
James, a Year 1 pupil at Kelvedon St Mary’s Primary, now has scans twice a year at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to monitor the growth of his second tumour.
He is supported by his dad Jonathan, 35, sister Holly, 14, and brothers Matthew, 12, and Samuel, nine.
Mrs Copping said: “The waiting time is down from 16 weeks to six-and-a-half weeks now.
“It’s quite sad that children are not getting the right treatment they need because of the time it’s taken them to be diagnosed.
“We’ve known people who have been back to their GP 14 times. We went twice and it was on the second time he was referred to Colchester General Hospital then Addenbrooke’s for emergency surgery.
“We were originally told after that his tumour was all removed and a follow up scan four months after showed something that was not there after his surgery.
“It is slow growing and it won’t spread to any other part of his brain, but in theory it should not have grown back.”
The family now travel to Liverpool twice a year for monitoring and are able to get test results the next day, something which was unavailable at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge.
Symptoms can include a persistent headache, balance problems, vomiting, abnormal eye movements, blurred or double vision, change in behaviour, fits or seizures, and an abnormal head position.