Parents Noticed Their 7-Year-Old Daughter's Smile Looked A Bit Odd, And It Turned Out To Be A Sign Of A Rare And Deadly Brain Tumor

Date November 14, 2018

Brain tumors often don’t cause any symptoms. And sometimes, when symptoms are present, they may be so subtle that it’s not easy to notice them. Luckily, these vigilant parents from Glasgow did notice an unusual symptom in their daughter and it saved her life.

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“There was something just not quite right”

It was October 31, 2017, when Jason Evans and Charlene McCann, from Glasgow, noticed something wasn’t right about their 7-year-old daughter Megan’s smile. They were at a Halloween party for kids and saw that her expression looked different.

Fortunately, it was reason enough for the vigilant parents to take Megan to the hospital. There, the doctors’ worst suspicion was confirmed – Megan had a tangerine-sized brain tumor that was pressing on a nerve and causing her smile to look crooked.

A team at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children worked on Megan for 12 hours to remove the tumor.

The girl’s dad recalled the harrowing experience:

It happened very suddenly. It was Halloween.

I noticed that her smile was a bit different. There was something just not quite right.

Charlene and I decided to take her to the hospital.

We were told that the symptoms pointed to a brain tumor.

We feared the worst.

We were told the tumor was the size of a tangerine.

Megan went through 12 hours of an operation and once she came out the other side she was not speaking.

Finally she did begin to speak, but it was like baby talk.

Then thankfully she started to talk normally again.

But the problem with speech was not the only problem Meghan had to face. She was left with 3% vision, but her parents hope an innovative treatment at a clinic in Berlin can help restore her vision, at least to some extent. Meghan’s dad said:

She’s a very outgoing girl. She loves gymnastics and drama. Megan has now started learning Braille.

So she has had to take in an awful lot and adapt. We are so proud of her because of the way she has reacted.

Because of the part of the brain affected, there is a good chance of the Berlin clinic being able to restore vision, and that is what we are hoping for.

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What signs and symptoms can a brain tumor cause, and who is at a higher risk of developing it?

There is a number of signs and symptoms a brain tumor can produce, and they depend on the size and location of the growth.

According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of a brain tumor may include the following:

  • headaches (these may or may not feel different than regular headaches);
  • headaches that get more frequent and more severe over time;
  • nausea and/or vomiting;
  • vision problems;
  • speech problems;
  • hearing problems;
  • problems with balance;
  • confusion;
  • changes in behavior and personality;
  • seizures;
  • loss of sensation or movement in an arm or leg that gets worse with time.

Speaking of loss of movement and numbness in a limb, other areas (such as the face, as in Megan’s case) may also be affected.

Parents Noticed Their 7-Year-Old Daughter's Smile Looked A Bit Odd, And It Turned Out To Be A Sign Of A Rare And Deadly Brain Tumor

It’s not exactly clear what causes brain tumors to develop, but some people may be at a higher risk. Factors that may increase your risk of developing a brain tumor include exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g. radiation therapy, especially to the head; atomic disasters) and family history of brain tumors.

If you have any unexplained signs and symptoms such as those listed above (especially neurological ones), see your doctor as soon as you can. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment!

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.