Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate

Press release

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

Family reveals devastating cost of brain tumour diagnosis. New report from the Brain Tumour Research charity highlights punishing financial burden

Family reveals devastating cost of brain tumour diagnosis. New report from the Brain Tumour Research charity highlights punishing financial burden

A widow who lost her husband to a brain tumour has welcomed a new report exposing the punishing financial burden of the disease.

Andy and Gill Graham built their family home in 2013 in Hughenden Valley and looked forward to a long and happy retirement there together.  Then in the summer of 2016, Andy, then 51, and working as a camera expert for John Lewis in High Wycombe, was diagnosed with a low-grade haemangioblastoma brain tumour. He underwent surgery which failed to remove the tumour and for several weeks remained in a high dependency ward at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. Gill was working full-time and driving to and from Oxford as much as possible, while relying on friends and her 84-year-old dad to make sure Andy wasn’t on his own the days she couldn’t make the journey.

Gill said: “Andy was told by his neurosurgeon he had to return his driving licence on our first appointment, so it meant he lost his independence, which was very difficult for him, and needed to be driven to all his numerous hospital and therapy appointments. Andy wasn’t allowed to fly either, so I had to drive the family to Switzerland so that Andy could attend his youngest brother’s wedding.

“I never imagined that our sons Ollie, 15, and Dan, 13, and I would be starting 2018 without him. In just 18 months, our lives changed beyond recognition. Andy passed away on New Year’s Eve 2017. He will never see our boys grow up, share their future, see them get exam results, go to university, get married, have a family or anything, and the impact to our lives has been devastating. I had to stop working and am now focusing on dealing with my grief and supporting the boys through crucial years at school. It means I am having to live on bereavement benefits and a small pension from John Lewis and I have to scrimp and save to make sure the boys don’t go without.”

The report Exposing the Financial Impact of Brain Tumours released by the Brain Tumour Research charity on Monday 15th October reveals the financial impact of a brain tumour diagnosis is double that for all cancers. Patients said they suffered a loss of independence and isolation which, combined with a dramatic decline in their earning potential, brought an impact almost as distressing as the disease itself.

The report, based on the experiences of 368 people will be fed into 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 provides the secretariat. The report found:

  • An average financial loss of £14,783 per household per year – more than double the £6,840 for all cancers
  • Households face an annual rise in household bills of £1,000 and many also have to make expensive modifications to their homes
  • Patients also have to find around £1,582 in travel costs for hospital visits
  • Suffer a crippling £391 increase in travel insurance making a much-needed holiday a distant dream for many

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “The financial penalties, the loss of independence and the consequential feelings of isolation compound the poor prognosis endured by brain tumour patients and this has got to stop.”

The charity is 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 by providing additional benefits and fund easily accessible financial support for patients while they are receiving treatment.


For further information, please contact:
Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357


Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.

We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.

We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT). We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. 

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Historically, Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.