A MAN who died of brain cancer was misdiagnosed with anxiety and told to "breathe into a paper bag" to ease his symptoms.

Keith Evans was 21 when he collapsed during a suspected panic attack.

Keith Evans shortly before he died of brain cancer


Keith Evans shortly before he died of brain cancerCredit: SWNS
Dad Keith, who was misdiagnosed with anxiety, with his little boy Joel


Dad Keith, who was misdiagnosed with anxiety, with his little boy JoelCredit: SWNS

He then developed painful headaches and was given tools to manage his anxiety.

Weeks later during a visit to his GP, he was referred for an MRI scan where he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma - a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumour.

Despite being given six months to live, Keith survived five and a half years. He died aged 27.

Keith's mum, Lorraine, from Bulkington, Warwickshire, said: "We felt like paranoid parents.

"Although at the time he was interviewing for a new job, we thought this could have caused some unrest, but being told he was having panic attacks seemed odd.

"After multiple occasions where we called 999 we were told the same thing and Keith was given ways to manage his anxiety, including breathing into a paper bag."

Throughout his cancer battle, he raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity while undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.

Lorraine added: "Keith wanted to be one of the five per cent of GBM patients who survive more than five years.

"He made dramatic changes to his lifestyle and took up cycling as he was no longer allowed to drive.

"He made a name for himself within the cycling community.

"A favourite event which came about inspired by his journey was called Ride on Keith.

"He got to take part in the event before coming off his bike due to a seizure in 2015.

"Soon his mobility deteriorated, and a scan showed the tumour had returned."

This weekend, dozens of cyclists are expected to take part in the final bike ride in memory of the father-of-one, who died of brain cancer in October 2015, raising funds for Brain Tumour Research.

The 'Ride on Keith' event, which has raised more than £7,500 since its inception, will take place on June 10.

Among the riders will be Keith's widow, Harriet Evans, and their son, 10-year-old Joel, who was just one when Keith died.

The 25-, 55- and five-mile child-friendly cycle ride will set off from Makins Fishery on Bazzard Road at 8.30am.

We felt like paranoid parents.

LorraineKeith's mum

Lorraine said: "For over a decade, we've helped to raise the profile of brain tumours and worked towards driving more funding to find a cure for the disease, with Keith at the helm of the events when he was alive.

"He achieved so much in the five and a half-years he survived, including cycling 275 miles from London to Paris and covering the 1,000-mile route from Land's End to John O'Groats over a 10-day period - all during treatment.

"Since his death, the event has been a fantastic way to remember him and this year we hope to create lasting memories while raising money for Brain Tumour Research.

"Although this is the last event of its kind, we will continue to work with the charity to raise awareness for more research into the disease."

One in three people know someone affected by a brain tumour.

They kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: "We're grateful to Keith's family for sharing his story.

"It's wonderful to hear of everything Keith achieved after receiving a shocking diagnosis.

My daughter applied for a job at our local chippy - I was outraged by the response
I wear underwear as outerwear - women hate it, it's not my fault their men stare

"His story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate, and they can affect anyone and any age.

"If we are to understand the complexity of each diagnosis, we need more funding to research the disease."

Keen cyclist Keith inspired a decade of charity fundraising


Keen cyclist Keith inspired a decade of charity fundraisingCredit: SWNS
The final 'Ride on Keith' event will take place on June 10


The final 'Ride on Keith' event will take place on June 10Credit: SWNS
Keith and his family, including mum Lorraine


Keith and his family, including mum LorraineCredit: SWNS

What is glioblastoma and what are the symptoms?

A MALIGNANT brain tumour is a cancerous growth in the brain.

Common symptoms include:

  • headaches (often worse in the morning and when coughing or straining)
  • fits (seizures)
  • regularly feeling sick (vomiting)
  • memory problems or changes in personality
  • weakness, vision problems or speech problems that get worse

There are lots of types of brain tumour. They have different names depending on where they are in the brain.

They're also given a number from 1 to 4, known as the grade.

The higher the number, the more serious a tumour is:

  • grade 1 and 2 brain tumours are non-cancerous (benign) tumours that tend to grow quite slowly
  • grade 3 and 4 brain tumours are cancerous (malignant) tumours that grow more quickly and are more difficult to treat

Glioblastomas are grade 4 and are the most common high grade brain tumour in adults.

They grow quickly, are likely to spread and often come back even after being treated.

The main treatments are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, radiosurgery and carmustine implants.

Source: NHS

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