Antiques Roadshow expert felt ‘scared’ following life-threatening diagnosis

Theo Burrell on Antiques Roadshow in 2020

Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell received a grade four brain tumour diagnosis following bad bouts of headaches.

While successful surgery saved her life, Theo said: “It’s hard not to feel angry about the whole experience.

“Brain tumours are so underfunded, and they have such a poor prognosis. Brain cancer seems to be a few steps ahead of us, it’s outsmarting us.”

Back in December 2021, the senior specialist in furniture and decorative arts started suffering from migraines.

Her migraines became so debilitating that Theo, from East Lothian, Scotland, was unable to bend down or lie down during the attacks.

Numerous trips to the doctor’s clinic didn’t result in any answers until a revealing scan did.

It was during another painful attack when Theo sought medical help from the A&E department at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on June 7, 2022.

“When I was told my migraines were in fact brain cancer, I was really shocked and scared,” Theo shared.

“I was put on steroids to reduce the swelling on my brain, and this led to me regaining my appetite.”

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Theo added: “I was also given morphine which meant I wasn’t in pain for the first time in months.

“Physically, I was feeling better but mentally, I was all over the place.”

While Theo’s surgery was successful, there is limited treatments available to those who develop a brain tumour.

Leading charity Brain Tumour Research is now calling on the UK government to ring-fence £110million of funding to invest in further research on the condition.

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Theo stated: “So many young people get brain tumours, so we need to care for the next generation.”


The charity explains glioblastoma is the “most common high grade primary brain tumour in adults”.

Symptoms of the brain tumour include:

  • Headaches, caused by pressure in the brain
  • Personality changes
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Trouble thinking
  • Seizures
  • Sight problems.

You can sign Brain Tumour Research’s petition to increase funding here:

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