In Uncategorized

My name is Sarah. In March 2018, I was diagnosed with a meningioma.

I live in a small village just outside Buxton in Derbyshire with my husband Paul. Paul is a keen FootGolfer, and this involves travelling around the country to different events and visiting new places. I enjoy going out for walks and spending time with my family and friends. I am also getting into photography and I love crafts and trying new things.

When I first found brainstrust 

I felt so lost and confused after my diagnosis, and I was scared, as were my family. I was searching on the internet to try and find some answers and some help, as I did not understand what it was that I had, when I came across brainstrust. 

After finding brainstrust and reading about other people’s contact with the charity, I knew it was going to help me if I got in touch with them, and I am so glad I did. I received help and advice straight away after completing the initial contact form.

I received the brain box, which I read about on the brainstrust Facebook page. It contained so many useful resources, as well as some lovely little touches of hand cream and teabags. I have also had a copy ‘My Fatigue Book’, which has been so helpful, as fatigue is one of the main things I suffer with. Reading through the book and making notes along the way is really helping me.

I have had email and phone support from Jodie, who is one of the support specialists. Whatever questions I have, or if I am struggling with things, I contact Jodie, who always helps me. We have recently started regular coaching sessions over the phone, as after my operation I was struggling with my confidence. Jodie has talked to me, listened to my worries and helped me to come up with ideas of how to rebuild my confidence.

I was originally due to have my surgery at the end of October 2018. After hours of waiting, it was suddenly cancelled. I got in touch with Jodie, as I just felt so down that I was having to go through the build-up again, after months of waiting, and she got back in touch with me straight away and offered her help and support. I feel like I can ask anything and Jodie will help me, or find a way to help me.

Doing something positive

Since my diagnosis, my husband and I have done a few different fundraising activities in order to raise money for the charity. We have organised raffles, set up a donation page, and in April we held a FootGolf charity day. My husband and some of our friends also took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks last October.

I said that after the support I received from brainstrust, I wanted to at least raise enough money to cover the cost of a few brain boxes, and now our fundraising currently stands at over £6,000. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would raise as much as we have. I am extremely grateful to everyone that has supported us in raising this money, as I know it will go towards helping other people that find themselves on this difficult journey.

Thanks to brainstrust, I now feel like I am part of a community and feel comfortable and confident whenever I have needed to ask for help. I stopped feeling lonely and scared, as I now know there is always someone who will help. When you hear the words ‘you have a brain tumour’ your life changes in a split second. Having brainstrust there has helped me to deal with it, and I will be forever grateful.

driving know how buttonchris dave 1


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:


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: