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A new report from the Brain Tumour Research charity, which supports the University of Plymouth’s research into low-grade brain tumours, has exposed the financial cost and shocking impacts of this devastating disease.

The survey’s revelations about life following a brain tumour diagnosis include:

  • An average financial loss of £14,783 per household per year – more than double the £6,840 for all cancers
  • Facing nearly £1,000 per annum extra paid on household bills, with patients often having to make costly modifications to their home
  • Having a £1,582 annual increase in travel costs for hospital visits made worse by having to surrender their driving licence on diagnosis
  • Suffering a dramatic £391 average increase in personal holidays premiums making getting away from it all for a week a distant dream for many patients.

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The University of Plymouth is a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence – one of only four universities in the UK working with the charity to improve the treatment and outcomes of brain tumours.

Professor Oliver Hanemann, lead of the Centre of Excellence in the University’s Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine, said: 

“We know only too well of the mental and physical devastation a brain tumour can cause but to learn other factors can be as distressing as a diagnosis and that the financial impact is double that of all cancers is shocking. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue and whilst our work at Plymouth continues we join Brain Tumour Research in calling for speedier access to better treatments.”

The Plymouth researchers are leaders in the investigation of low-grade brain tumours, which are usually slow-growing and frequently affect children and young adults. Such tumours can be just as devastating as malignant tumours and can bring equally dangerous and debilitating effects to patients by causing neurological conditions including loss of balance, weakness, cognitive problems, poor hearing, epilepsy and personality changes.

Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE said of the report’s release:

“The financial penalties, the loss of independence and the consequential feelings of isolation compound the poor prognosis endured by brain tumour patients and has got to stop.

“We are calling on the government to:

  • speed up access to better treatments by stimulating further increases in the national investment for research into brain tumours
  • offset the debilitating loss of income for brain tumour patients by providing additional benefits
  • Fund easily accessible financial support for patients while they are receiving treatment.”

The Brain Tumour Research charity conducted an online survey receiving 368 responses. 

These findings will be used to contribute to a formal inquiry into the hidden costs of a brain tumour being led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours for which Brain Tumour Research provide the secretariat.

Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

Around 16,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. We're working with Brain Tumour Research to improve research and treatment. Brain Tumour Research is an official charity partner of the University and we are one of three universities in the UK working with the charity to improve the treatment and outcomes of brain tumours. Plymouth’s Centre of Excellence specialises in low-grade brain tumours, which are usually benign, slow-growing but ultimately can become malignant. Our focus is to identify and understand the mechanism underlying the development of brain tumours, and explore ways to halt or reverse that mechanism.
More information about Brain Tumour Research
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Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

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