Peterborough Tik-Toker Lauren Boon shares brain cancer diagnosis following battle with anorexia

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Lauren has shared her fight with a brain tumour in a bid to help others

A Peterborough Tik-Toker has bravely shared her fight with brain cancer in a bid to help others battling the condition.

Lauren Boon was diagnosed with a grade 2 astrocytoma in December 2023. It’s after she believed a numb sensation in her face and head was a sign of needing to eat as she battled anorexia.

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She said: “I developed an eating disorder (ED) in 2020 when I was 19. I was under medical supervision for this and mentioned my symptoms. The doctor said it’s not something they had ever come across. I put it down to a sign of needing to eat something, in relation to maybe low blood pressure and low heart rate.”

Lauren graduated after her diagnosis with a brain tumour. Image: Brain Tumour ResearchLauren graduated after her diagnosis with a brain tumour. Image: Brain Tumour Research
Lauren graduated after her diagnosis with a brain tumour. Image: Brain Tumour Research
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The 23 year old overcame her ED in 2023 but the numbness persisted.

She added: “I went to the GP and they said it could be a trapped nerve around my jaw or something neurological. I was referred for an MRI scan in February 2023 and told I had a lesion on my brain. I knew from my degree in psychology when I studied a little about the brain, the word lesion wasn’t good.”

Story seen by thousands as Lauren shares vital message

Lauren has bravely shared her story in a bid to help others. Image: Brain Tumour ResearchLauren has bravely shared her story in a bid to help others. Image: Brain Tumour Research
Lauren has bravely shared her story in a bid to help others. Image: Brain Tumour Research

Lauren posted her first video under the handle diaryoflaurenx weeks before she had operation to remove the tumour in January 2024. Her content has now been seen by tens of thousands of people.

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She said: “I’m sharing my brain cancer journey on TikTok, including all appointments, treatment, scans and results. People have been shocked to find out I have a brain tumour and offered their support by liking and commenting words of support on my videos. It’s meant people have shared their own experience of brain tumours with me. It makes the fact that one in three people know someone affected by a brain tumour so real.”

Months after brain surgery, Lauren defied the odds, graduating (on Thursday 23 May) with a Masters in eating disorders and clinical nutrition degree at University College London (UCL).

“I was so scared that I was going to have seizure"

Lauren needed surgery in January this year. Image: Brain Tumour ResearchLauren needed surgery in January this year. Image: Brain Tumour Research
Lauren needed surgery in January this year. Image: Brain Tumour Research

The health and wellbeing coach, who works for Thrive Tribe, said: “My own eating disorder inspired me to want to study and work towards supporting others who may be facing their own struggles, which is also the idea with taking to TikTok to talk about brain tumours.

“Navigating medical appointment, brain scans, results and treatment, I maintained my studies, although I came so close to dropping out. My parents convinced me to persevere. I was so scared that I was going to have seizure after the doctor warned me this could happen, when it came to my exams, Dad travelled with me to London and waited outside the room.”

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Lauren now faces the reality of needing a second operation after a follow-up scan in April was inconclusive.

She added: “Despite being in surgery for almost six hours I feel good apart from sometimes suffering with fatigue. The consultant wants to avoid radiotherapy because of my age.

A scan showing the tumour. Image: Brain Tumour ResearchA scan showing the tumour. Image: Brain Tumour Research
A scan showing the tumour. Image: Brain Tumour Research

“She told me what they found on my scan last month it wasn’t new growth but could be residual tumour. I have another scan this month to determine if I need a second operation which this time, I will be awake for due to the tumour growing close to the motor strip in my brain.”

“I’m frustrated and surprised at the lack of investment funding that goes into brain tumour research."

In May, just three months after brain surgery, Lauren completed 200K in May Your Way in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research. A challenge which required participants to walk, jog, run, cycle, swim, or combine activities, to complete a 200km distance over the course of the month.

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Lauren said: “I’m frustrated and surprised at the lack of investment funding that goes into brain tumour research. There is no one set of symptoms or one size fits all when it comes to treatment. If we are to discover kinder treatment options and find a cure for this disease, we need greater investment into research.”

“In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Charlie Allesbrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour yet, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002. Lauren has been through so much with her health, the resilience she has shown is admirable. We are extremely grateful that Lauren has shared her story with us and achieved 200K in May along the way.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and 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.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Lauren’s challenge, please visit: www.facebook.com/donate/1405613320071971/

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