Former senator Nick Xenophon reveals he has a brain tumour

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Former political rogue Nick Xenophon has been diagnosed with a brain tumour which he has described as a “ticking time bomb”.

The former senator said a scan had revealed a benign tumour near his brain stem and he was preparing to undergo surgery, he revealed in an interview with the Adelaide Advertiser on Saturday.

He emphasised the tumour was not a cancer and would require surgery if it continued to grow.

“It should be OK, but there are risks involved,’’ Mr Xenophon said.

“It’s a ticking time bomb in a really crappy location. I just have to get through it. It has to be done.”

Mr Xenophon was last year diagnosed with a meningioma, a slow-growing tumour in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

“In the scheme of things it is no big deal. It is nothing to what co-Australian of the Year, Professor Richard Scolyer is going through with his brain cancer and his heroic efforts to find a cure,” Mr Xenophon said.

Mr Xenophon first entered politics in South Australian parliament as an anti-pokies campaigner in 1997 before he moved to the federal Senate, where he served for nine years.

His political career was halted when he resigned from the Senate in 2017 in order to run for South Australian parliament.

However he was defeated at the ballot box in his bid to be elected as the member for Hartley at the 2018 state election.

His tumour was revealed last year when he went to the doctor suffering from a stiff neck and a headache and was sent for CT scans.

He said that he may need to undergo surgery if the tumour continued to grow.

He said he was preparing for the fight by transferring his legal practice to another Adelaide law firm.

“As I got off the phone I received a call that my father had just died. A bit of a double whammy,’’ Mr Xenophon said.

“A subsequent scan before Christmas showed the tumour largely stable but appeared to be growing slowly.’’

He said he was speaking publicly to raise awareness in the hope that others would seek medical care when symptoms arise.

“As far as brain tumours go, I am one of the lucky ones but I hope in some small way I can help raise awareness about the need to get symptoms checked out for early detection and intervention,’’ he said.