Oxfordshire Woman battling cancer for a second time sets out to find a cure

A woman from Oxfordshire has pledged to fundraise for Brain Tumour Research after being diagnosed with secondary brain cancer a year after overcoming breast cancer.

Carlie Buchanan, 41, from Grove in Oxfordshire was first diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer after noticing a lump in December 2018, which her sister Jasmine (‘Jas’) Reid, 44, encouraged her to get checked out. After 21 rounds of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy, Carlie had a mastectomy in September 2019 and she entered 2020 feeling optimistic for the year ahead, only for her plans to be halted due to the pandemic.

Carlie Buchanan

During daily walks with her sister at the end of 2020, Carlie started to experience headaches and as 2021 began, they became severe. When the pain caused Carlie to stop and take a sharp intake of breath, Jas again encouraged Carlie to get checked out.

In February, Carlie saw her GP and was immediately referred to the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital.

Carlie said: “The headaches felt like I’d been hit in the head with a plank of wood. Jas picked me up from the GP surgery, as I was advised not to drive. I had a scan as soon as I arrived at the JR and was told I had a tumour on my brain, likely to be secondary from my breast cancer.

“It felt like and out-of-body experience. I was in a room by myself and had just been told I had a brain tumour. All I wanted to know was the prognosis and treatment.”

She was given steroids for the swelling and remained in hospital until she was well enough to go home and wait for a date for brain surgery.

Four months later, surgeons at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford removed the tumour, and due to being at high risk of having seizures, Carlie, her husband John, 48, and their two children Ewan, eight, and Louis, five, moved in with Jas and her daughter, Eva, 13, for six weeks.

Carlie said: “When I came round from the operation, I felt normal. I didn’t have pain compared to my treatment for breast cancer. At the point I was discharged, the medical team was confident they had removed all traces of the tumour and I would have a checkup in three months’ time.”

After a two-month delay from having her follow-up scan to getting the results, in December 2021, doctors told Carlie there was something on her scan and she was asked to attend an emergency MRI scan, which revealed the devastating news that the tumour had returned, this time in multiple locations on her brain. She started radiotherapy treatment shortly after.

The busy mum-of-two, who works as general manager at Saddleback Farm Shop in Brightwalton, Newbury, finished radiotherapy treatment this month and is due to be scanned in April to monitor for any changes in her tumour.

The sisters have turned their focus to raising awareness of Carlie’s journey with cancer by starting a Facebook page called: ‘A Year to Remember – Brain Tumour Research’ alongside a pledge to raise £27,400 for Brain Tumour Research which could fund ten days of research at one of the charity’s Centres of Excellence.

Carlie said: So far, we have almost 100 people supporting us by taking part in coffee mornings, a football tournament, quiz and race nights. We’re busy finalising details for a camping event taking place in July and alongside planning for these events, we are both training for the Oxford Half Marathon in October.

 “Our aim is to help as many people as we can through fundraising and our online blog so no-one else has to go through this experience.”

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Carlie’s secondary brain tumour diagnosis and wish her well for her forthcoming scan results. It’s heart-warming to hear about the relationship she has with her sister, and we’re delighted they are so enthusiastic for help fundraise and raise awareness of this awful disease.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

You can follow Carlie’s brain tumour journey and find out about her upcoming fundraising events by visiting www.facebook.com/CancerlikesBoobsandBrains

Who are Brain Tumour Research?

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumours through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year, while fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumour research centres in the UK.

brand tumour researchThe £35 million a year funding would bring parity with other cancers such as breast and leukaemia after historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours. This increased commitment would enable the ground-breaking research needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

Brain Tumour Research is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis.

We are also a leading player on the Steering Group for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, and we were a key influencer in the Government’s 2018 funding announcement, following her death, to commit £40 million over five years. So far, just £9.3 million has been allocated and we continue to work through the APPGBT to hold the Government to account and ensure this money is spent on research into brain tumours.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer
  • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Less than 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.