Brain Tumour Awareness Month: Do you know the signs and symptoms?

Brain Tumour Awareness Month is an important initiative that aims to raise awareness and provide vital information about brain tumours. 

Brain cancer is the 9th most common cancer in the UK. It’s also the largest cancer killer of people aged 40 and under. Around 12,000 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumour each year, including 500 children and young adults. Of these, around half are cancerous tumours with terminal diagnoses. Delayed diagnoses can cause disability and/or death and increases the person’s and their family’s suffering. 60% of survivors are left with life-altering disability, and, as with all cancers, early detection and treatment improves outcomes and awareness of the symptoms of a brain tumour could make all the difference. 

There are many different types of brain tumour. Brain tumours can be benign (non-cancerous, stage 1 and 2) or malignant (cancerous, stage 3 and 4), and they can affect people of all ages, including children. Brain tumours are often names after the cell they develop from or the part of the brain they start in – more information can be found here 

Signs and symptoms of tumours often depend on where the tumour is in the brain, and how slowly or quickly it grows. Some of the main symptoms to look out for are:  

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision/problems with eyesight
  • Memory problems
  • Personality or behaviour changes

Early diagnosis is extremely important: the sooner a tumour is detected, the greater the chances of successful treatment and improved outcomes. Only a very small percentage of brain tumours are preventable, and there are no screening programmes due to the only way to identify a brain tumour is through CT or MRI scans. Therefore, it is important that people presenting with the symptoms above seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

If diagnosed with a brain tumour, each person is affected differently by their tumour, prognosis can depend on age, general health, and treatment. Two people, with the same type and stage of cancer can have very different prognoses. The Brain Tumour Charity’s information pack might be useful for anyone recently diagnosed, or support someone with a brain tumour diagnosis. 

Page last updated 26 March 2024