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Written on 15th July 2022 by

The Brain Tumour Charity has launched an awareness campaign to help people recognise the signs and symptoms of brain tumour in adults and children.  The #BetterSafeThanTumour campaign encourages everyone to learn to recognise possible signs and symptoms of brain tumour, as parents, partners and friends of both adults and children, and have any worrying symptoms checked out by a doctor.

#BetterSafeThanTumour builds on the success of HeadSmart, a former Brain Injury Charity award-winning campaign  which was launched in 2009 in partnership with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the University of Nottingham. The HeadSmart campaign raised awareness of brain tumour signs and symptoms in children and teenagers, and led to a reduction in average diagnosis times for young people with brain tumour from 13 to 6.5 weeks. #BetterSafeThanTumour now expands the previously successful campaign to include signs and symptoms in children and adults.

How common is brain tumour?

Brain tumours are relatively rare, but every year in the UK more than 11,000 people each year are diagnosed with primary brain tumour. In addition to those with primary tumours, more people are diagnosed with secondary brain tumour (which has spread from a tumour in another area of the body).

Brain tumours can affect babies, children, teenagers and young adults but are more common in people who are older.

According to The Brain Tumour Charity, the number of people being diagnosed with a brain tumour in England has increased by more than 50% in the last 20 years. Researchers at King’s College London found that the numbers of glioblastomas and meningiomas, two of the most common brain tumours in adults, more than doubled in England between 1995 and 2017. This increase may reflect the increase in older people (the ageing population), advances in clinical diagnostic tools and detection, or changes in classification and data collection.

Overall, 6577 people were diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2001 compared with 9960 in 2019. However the charity found that nearly 250 fewer cases were diagnosed in England in 2020-2021 compared with 2018-2019. This represents nearly a 2.5% decline in the diagnosis rates following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brain Tumour Charity’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr David Jenkinson, said;

“These worrying figures show just how urgently we need to act on this devastating and life-changing disease. While brain tumours remain relatively rare, incidence has continued to rise significantly over the last two decades, and this has unfortunately not yet been matched by the tangible progress in diagnosis, treatment and survival outcomes seen in many other cancers. With over 12,000 people now being diagnosed every year in the UK, and the impacts on diagnosis seen due to the pandemic, renewed action to support more people to recognise the signs and come forward to see an NHS doctor has never been more needed.

“We absolutely want to reassure people that, despite this increase in cases, brain tumours are still uncommon. But it’s so important that we see greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease to ensure anyone affected can get the diagnosis, treatment and support they need at the earliest opportunity. The warning signs vary by age group, as well as due to the type of tumour and where in the brain it is located. We’d encourage anyone who is worried about a symptom that’s unusual for them, and particularly if it is persistent or they experience a combination of symptoms, to speak to their doctor – to help rule a brain tumour out.”

What are the symptoms of brain tumour?

Common symptoms of brain tumour can include a combination of any of the following:

  • severe or persistent headaches;
  • seizures (convulsions or fits);
  • nausea (persistently feeling sick);
  • vomiting (being sick);
  • drowsiness (feeling sleepy);
  • mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating or changes in personality;
  • progressive weakness, numbness or paralysis down one side of the body;
  • problems with vision or speech;
  • problems with taste or smell.

An individual’s symptoms will depend on where the tumour is located in the brain, its size and how quickly it grows. Symptoms may begin to appear slowly and develop or worsen over time. Symptoms may affect people of different ages differently and may not always be easy to detect in a baby or child. Parents should trust their judgement if they are concerned about changes in their child’s health, abilities or behaviour, and seek medical help.

These symptoms can also have many other causes, which may or may not be serious. Having one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have a brain tumour. However, if symptoms persist or you are worried by them, or unsure about your own symptoms or those of a baby or child, (in the case of sudden or severe symptoms) go to A&E or arrange to see your GP. If your symptoms are visual, it may help to have your eyes tested by an optician first.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour and having them checked out can lead to a faster diagnosis. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to further damage to the brain and cause avoidable disability.

#BetterSafeThanTumour.

If you have suffered serious injury or permanent disability as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of brain tumour, contact us here to talk to one of our solicitors, free and confidentially, to find out how we can help you claim compensation.