When living with a brain tumour, you may often find yourself consumed by lots of different thoughts and priorities, leaving you overwhelmed. Mindfulness for brain tumours can help you feel less overwhelmed. Allocating time in your day to being mindful can give you the opportunity to create space between you, your thoughts and your reactions. 

brainstrust know hows mindfulnessPracticing mindfulness

Mindfulness is about taking time to focus on one particular task or activity, feeling relaxed yet awake and aware, and being completely present in the moment. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can help your emotional wellbeing and aid sleep. This How How explores ways that you can practice mindfulness when living with a brain tumour.

Click here to download the Mindfulness Know How

Putting your day to bed

There is a transition point in every day when the day’s activities end and the evening begins. Use this time to think about the day that has just passed. Find a quiet space to reflect. In a notebook, take fifteen minutes to reflect on the following:

  • What have you achieved today?
    It doesn’t matter how small, note this down. Be kind to yourself and champion yourself. Who else deserves to be championed? Make sure you let them know.
  • What loose ends are there?
    You might not be able to tie them all up here and now; just acknowledge that they are there. When might you deal with them? Who can help you? Once you have done this, put them to bed until you are ready to deal with them.
  • What might stop you sleeping well tonight?
    What positive actions might you take to deal with this? One of the things you can do with negative thoughts is to accept them, acknowledge that they are there, and then let them go. This is the brain processing. Just let them go, and bring your mind back to the task in mind.

This ritual of putting your day to bed gives you space to gather your thoughts, get them down on paper and out of your mind, so you can have a restful evening.

Struggling with brain tumour fatigue? We can help. Click here to find out more.

Creating a sanctuary

Mindfulness for brain tumours

Think about creating a space that truly is a sanctuary for you. What does this look like? It doesn’t have to be exotic, expensive or a room on its own. It could be turning off the TV and turning on some relaxing music instead. It could mean stopping what you are doing to make eye contact with your children while they talk to you. It could be saying no to some plans so that you can spend time together as a family, or time on your own. A sanctuary is a space where you can breathe, take a break from performing, and where you can be who you are in a safe place.

Pleasurable activities

In the busyness of our lives, sometimes we lose sight of pleasure. We are so busy trying to sort, manage, orchestrate, drive that we forget that we need a balance. Make a list of things you like to do that make your heart sing. These will give you energy. Many are actually quite small things, like sitting with a favourite piece of music or feeling the sun on your face, listening to birdsong or having a cuddle.

Write yours down. Look at them often to remind yourself and promise to do one every day.

  • Phone a friend
  • Paint your nails
  • Watch a favourite film
  • Treat yourself to something new
  • Have a massage
  • Light a candle
  • Curl up with a good book
  • Have clean sheets on the bed
  • Play word games
  • Thump a cushion
  • Enjoy a walk in the sun
  • Declutter a cupboard
  • Sit by the sea
  • Stretch
  • Watch people from a café
  • Make a list
  • Go out for dinner or have a takeaway
  • Promise yourself to do something new this week
  • Walk a dog
  • Have a bath
  • Watch a comedy
  • Look at photographs
  • Cuddle someone, be cuddled
  • Share a smile
  • Surf the internet
  • Meet a friend for coffee and cake
  • Wear something cosy
  • Dance
  • Have someone wash your hair
  • Clear out an in-tray
  • Tell someone what is special about them
  • Plan a weekend away
  • Bake a cake
  • Plan a get together with friends

Did this information make you feel more resourced, more confident or more in control?


The Brain Tumour Data Dashboard lets you explore up -to-date, population level data about the brain tumours diagnosed in England between 2013 and 2015. Using the drop down menus on the left you can select different groups of patients to view in the charts below. In these charts the number of patients for every 100 diagnoses is displayed as images of people. Patients have been grouped by date of diagnosis, type of tumour, age, gender, and region in England.

For each group of patients you can explore the different routes to diagnosis, the proportion of those who received chemotherapy or radiotherapy, as well as the survival of the patients within each group. For more information about what these metrics mean please see the glossary.

How to use

  1. Select the year of diagnosis using the drop down menu.
  2. Select your patient group of interest from the four drop down menus in the following order:
    1. Tumour group
    2. Age at diagnosis
    3. Region of England
    4. Gender of patient
  3. To view a second chart to compare different groups of patients, click the ‘compare’ button.The second chart will appear below the first chart.

*Note that the tool is best used on a laptop or tablet rather than a mobile phone*

Unavailable data

Some of the data in these charts is not available.There are two main reasons for this:

  1. How the data has been grouped

If you cannot select a patient group from the drop down menus, the data is unavailable because of how the data has been organised.

Public Health England has grouped the data like a branching tree. The bottom of the tree contains all the patients with brain tumours, and then each branch divides the data by a certain characteristics, like age, or location of tumour. But the data is divided in an order, starting with location of the tumour (endocrine or brain), then by age, region, and gender. Age is at the start because it makes a bigger difference to survival rates and treatment rates than gender or region. Sometimes, after the data has been split by type of tumour and age, there is not enough data to be split again. This is because to protect patient confidentiality groups cannot contain less than 100 patients. Because some groups cannot be split further, you cannot create ‘totals’ for everyone by region or gender. For example, you cannot see results for all ages by region, or all brain tumours by gender. If these totals were calculated and released, it might be possible to identify patients, which is why Public Health England cannot release this data.

  1. Statistical reasons and data availability

If you can select a patient group from the chart menus, but the chart does not display, the data is unavailable for one of several reasons:

  1. Data is not yet available for the selected year from Public Health England.
  2. Data is not available because the data quality is too poor to release this statistic.
  3. Data is not available as the statistic is not appropriate for this group.
  4. Data is not available because the standard error of the estimate was greater than 20% and so the estimate has been supressed.

Up to date brain tumour data

Brain tumour data may influence the decisions you make about your care. Data also helps you understand the bigger picture, or landscape, in which you find yourself.

Brain tumour data and statistics influence the focus, and work of organisations like brainstrust. The information helps us to understand the scale and impact of the problems we are setting out to solve.

This tool helps you understand the landscape in which you find yourself having been diagnosed with a brain tumour. This landscape can be particularly tricky to navigate as there are many different types of brain tumour, all of which have a different impact.

The information you see represents the most up-to-date, official, population level brain tumour data available for England. Over time we will be adding to the brain tumour data available and publishing reports, with recommendations, as a result of what we learn from this data.

The data behind this content has come from Public Health England’s National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) and is a direct result of the ‘Get Data Out’ project.

This project provides anonymised population level brain tumour data for public use in the form of standard output tables, accessible here: http://cancerdata.nhs.uk/standardoutput


The number or rate (per head of population) of new cases of a disease diagnosed in a given population during a specified time period (usually a calendar year). The crude rate is the total number of cases divided by the mid-year population, usually expressed per 100,000 population.


Malignant tumours which grow by invasion into surrounding tissues and have the ability to metastasise to distant sites


The number or rate (per head of population) of deaths in a given population during a specified time period (usually a calendar year). The crude rate is the total number of deaths divided by the mid-year population, usually expressed per 100,000 population.


Not cancerousNon-malignant tumours may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body.


The length of time from the date of diagnosis for a disease, such as cancer, that patients diagnosed with the disease are still alive. In a clinical trial, measuring the survival is one way to see how well a new treatment works. Also called ‘overall survival’ or ‘OS’.

Routes to Diagnosis

Under the ‘Routes to Diagnosis’ tab in the Brain Tumour Data Dashboard, you can explore the ways patients have been diagnosed with brain tumours. There are many ways, or routes, for cancers to be diagnosed in the NHS. A ‘route to diagnosis’ is the series of events between a patient and the healthcare system that leads to a diagnosis of cancer. The routes include:

  1. Two Week Wait

Patients are urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer via the Two Week Wait system and are seen by a specialist within 2 weeks where they are diagnosed.

  1. GP referral

Diagnosis via a GP referral includes routine and urgent referrals where the patient was not referred under the Two Week Wait system.

  1. Emergency Presentation

Cancers can be diagnosed via emergency situations such as via A&E, emergency GP referral, emergency transfer or emergency admission.

  1. Outpatient

Outpatient cancer diagnoses include diagnoses via an elective route which started with an outpatient appointment that is either a self-referral or consultant to consultant referral. (It does not include those under the Two Week Wait referral system).

  1. Inpatient elective

Diagnosis via an inpatient elective route is where diagnosis occurs after the patient has been admitted into secondary care from a waiting list, or where the admission is booked or planned.

  1. Death Certificate Only

Diagnoses made by Death Certificate Only are made where there is no more information about the cancer diagnosis other than the cancer related death notifications. The date of diagnosis is the same as that of the date of death.

  1. Unknown

For some patients with a cancer diagnosis, there is no relevant data available to understand the route to diagnosis.


More information

If any of the statistical terms in this section of the brainstrust website are hard to understand, we recommend looking them up here:

Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Statistics Explained


If you are looking for help understanding terms relating specifically to brain tumours, and treatment, then the brainstrust glossary is available here: