Doctors found brain tumour as big as ‘mushroom’ in Newham teacher

Paul Bartlett at the launch of the new brain tumour research centre

Paul Bartlett at the launch of the new brain tumour research centre - Credit: Archant

A teacher who discovered he had a brain tumour only after a serious cycling accident landed him in hospital has welcomed the opening of a new research centre.

Paul Bartlett, 37, had no idea he had a growth the size of a “mushroom” in his brain until he was knocked unconscious off his bike by a car when cycling through Soho and doctors made the discovery while treating him.

“One minute I was cycling home, the next I woke up in hospital and I didn’t know what had happened. My helmet was smashed and I was lucky to be alive,” said Paul, an art and design teacher at Kingsford Community School in Beckton.

During an MRI scan medical staff spotted the brain tumour. “I was only in there for 15 minutes before they pulled me out. They spotted a brain tumour the size of a mushroom,” said Paul, who had yet to start his teacher training at the time.

“There was a really long waiting list to have it removed but I begged to get it done sooner because I wanted to get on with my PCGE course. They even told me I shouldn’t start it yet but I was really eager to get teaching,” he said.

“When I found out I was in complete shock. I can’t explain how it feels to hear that news. It’s horrific. As soon as it sunk in and I realised it was happening it was all about fighting it and not giving in to it.”

He has since been given the all clear, with the final check last year revealing that 100 per cent of the tumour had been successfully removed. “I was told ‘carry on with my life, you’re incredibly lucky,” he said.

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Also attending the centre launch at Queen Mary’s University on Thursday, October 23, was actor Ian Reddington and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow MP.

Paul described the centre as “incredibly important”, adding: “A good understanding of brain tumours is essential. It’s the biggest killer for under 40s but there’s such a lack of funding for it so the opening of this centre is great.”

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