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Saturday 26th May 2018

Russell Watson's brain tumour

20th February 2007

Singer Russell Watson, known as The Voice, is one of Britain's best selling artists, "sustaining a level of popularity that surpasses even Madonna's," writes the Daily Mail. 


Yet in October 2006, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour which was so large and intrusive, it was pressing on his optic nerve and threatening to blind him. He immediately underwent emergency surgery and has spent the last four months recuperating form the ordeal.

Before the diagnosis he had been plagued with excruciating headaches for two or three years which he put down to "particularly nasty migraines." Then he began to notice the peripheral vision in his left eye was deteriorating. Two doctors failed to pick up the tumour and told him he was suffering from stress. Things came to a head on a flight to Los Angeles when he found himself in agony and his vision had deteriorated so badly it was like "seeing through a small tube, just a couple of inches in diameter."

A specialist at the Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles diagnosed the tumour within 20 minutes and considered it must have been quite large to be pressing so hard on the optic nerve. He was booked in for a scan five days later and managed to record the vocals for his new album in the four days in between.

The scan revealed that although the tumour was benign, immediate surgery was vital to save Russell's sight. He opted to return to England and have the growth removed at St George's Hospital, in South London. The surgery took three-and-a-half hours and resulted in the extraction of a tumour "the size of a cricket ball.". His sight quickly recovered and has now gained a "sharpness and definition he has not experienced for years."

However, during the operation, Russell's pituitary gland, which regulates the flow of hormones to the body, was disrupted, and he now has daily injections to balance hormone deficiencies. Usually extrovert, he has become more insular and his emotions remain fragile.

A few weeks after the operation he celebrated his 40th birthday, which he feared he would never see. His new album "That's Life" is due for release on 5th March 2007.


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