I thought I was horny and aggressive — it was a brain tumor

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Shaun Turner was flabbergasted after learning that his sudden onset of “horny and aggressive” behavior was the result of an undiscovered brain tumor.

“I had personality changes,” Turner, 38, said of his seemingly cancer-induced character shift.

The UK-based father of two first realized something was awry in 2014 after being beset by a host of unusual symptoms.

The bosun boat boss said he was “really tired all the time, really horny and aggressive,” which he found at odds with his typical personality, which is “normally very chilled and easygoing with loads of energy.”

Not only that, but Turner started losing his sight and sense of smell. Alarmed, his wife booked an eye test, whereupon the discovery of an anomaly prompted a further scan, which revealed an orange-sized mass on the Brit’s brain.

Turner was officially diagnosed with a brain tumor, which along with blindness and other physical affects, can reportedly cause the sufferer to experience a range of demeanor changes.

These include mood swings, aggression and “a loss of inhibitions or restraints and behaving in socially or culturally unacceptable ways, according to experts.


From left to right: Daniel, Jill and Shaun.
Shaun Turner, far right, lost his mother, Jill Turner, to a brain tumor five years ago. He is pictured here with his mom and brother Daniel Turner.
Brain Tumour Research / SWNS

Turner's 62 staples.
Turner received 62 staples to stitch up the wound from his brain tumor surgery.
Brain Tumour Research / SWNS

‘To have these two diagnoses in the same family is an extremely rare occurrence, less than a one in a million chance’

Dr. Karen Noble, Brain Tumor Research

“In all honesty when I found out it didn’t feel real,” Turner recalled. “My entire family and friends were all so worried about it that I didn’t feel able to show any weakness or that it fazed me.”

He added, “I had a positive attitude and genuinely believed I would be alright, but I was terrified inside.”

Fortunately, Turner had the tumor removed that same year and now has to undergo regular checkups to see if there’s any recurrence.

He’s not out of the woods. “I believe there are very small traces left which is what I had radiotherapy for in December 2020,” the patient lamented.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the family’s first bout with the disease as in 2018, Turner’s mom died of glioblastoma — a form of cancer that originates in the brain and spinal cord.

Despite receiving radiotherapy, the disease was too aggressive and she succumbed four months after her diagnosis.


A scan showing Turner's brain tumor.
A scan showing Turner’s brain tumor.
Brain Tumour Research / SWNS

The incidents were perplexing as cancer apparently doesn’t run in the Turner family.

“For the disease to have struck our family twice was shocking and we have asked doctors the likelihood of passing it onto our children but they have said it is purely bad luck,” said Shaun’s brother Daniel, 36, an electrician. “My brother has had genetic testing and there is nothing to prove it is in your family gene – it’s just awful luck.”

Experts have agreed with the Turner family’s grim assessement.

“Brain tumors are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age,” said Dr. Karen Noble, director of research, policy, and innovation at UK charity Brain Tumour Research. “To have these two diagnoses in the same family is an extremely rare occurrence, less than a one in a million chance. If we are to change the stark facts around survival of this disease, then we simply must invest more into discovery science – the route to a cure.”

Meanwhile, in light of the freak occurrence, Daniel now devotes time and effort to helping combat the insidious condition, which currently affects more than 1 million Americans.


Daniel and his team during the 68-mile Isle of Wight Randonnée, a bike race to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
Shaun’s brother Turner partook in a bike race to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research, a UK charity dedicated to combating the disease.
Brain Tumour Research / SWNS

Turner and his mum Jill in October 2013 before he was diagnosed.
Shaun Turner’s mom Jill (right) died of a brain tumor around five years ago.
Brain Tumour Research / SWNS

On July 1, the sibling took part in the 68-mile Isle of Wight Randonnée to raise money for the aforementioned group with a goal to amass funds for brain cancer research. They ended up raising nearly $13,000.

“Supporting a charity that focuses on the research into brain tumors is vitally important so we can help find better treatment options and eventually find a cure for the disease,” Daniel said. “It’s too late for my mum, but for people like Shaun who are living with the disease, we must progress the research of brain tumors and bring it in line with advances in the treatment of other cancers.”

This isn’t the first time a brain tumor has caused alarming neurological symptoms.

In June 2015, while receiving immunotherapy treatment for brain cancer, neuroscientist Barbara Lipska was convinced the takeout pizza she’d consumed had been made out of plastic.

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