In Brain News

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Ideas for how to have a mindful shower by Lou Henry

How to have a mindful bath or shower

  1. Put phones on silent or out of earshot into a different room
  2. Give yourself permission to ‘switch off’ for these 5-10 minutes of your day
  3. Prepare yourself and the area where you are washing. Make sure you have easy access to all the products you need.
  4. Once you have started, focus completely on what you are doing using as many senses as you can.
  5. Pay particular attention to:
  • What can you feel?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you hear?
  • What is the temperature like?
  • What does this make you feel?

Continue to ask yourself questions such as ‘is this feeling good?’

  1. Remind yourself throughout that “at this moment in time everything is good”, because at that moment everything in your focus is
  2. If other thoughts interrupt, simply let them go and bring your focus back to the present moment.

Take some long deep breaths in and out, relax your shoulders and face muscles.

Think how lucky we are to have this pure, clean water to wash with and say to yourself ‘in this moment in time, everything is good’.

How does the water feel on your skin?

Visualise it washing away your worries, cleansing you from head to toe, inside and out. SMILE.

Say to yourself again ‘in this moment in time, everything is good’.

Look around you, see all the things that you like to make you clean, smell fresh and feel good.

Look at what you are standing on or sitting in and be glad of it and the support.

Have you got a favourite soap or shampoo? Think about why you like it and how it makes you feel.

Think positively about your body. Focus your attention on painful areas and visualise the cleansing of those areas taking the pain away.

Let any negative thoughts go and bring focus to your breathing.

Smell the soap and feel the sensation on your skin.

If you are using a sponge or flannel, how does that feel?

Focus on each part of your body as you slowly wash, from head to toe.

Focus on drying your body in the same way, relaxing each part of you before you leave the bathroom.

How do you feel afterwards, compared to before your shower?

Try using mindful focus, using all of your senses, on other household activities too, such as:

Eating a meal – slowly taste each mouthful and think about the flavours. Say to yourself ‘in this moment in time all is good’.

Washing up- feel of the water, how sparkly are the plates, what are you looking at in front of you? Think of each item and its useful purpose.

About Lou Henry

My name is Lou Henry, and I was diagnosed with an inoperable meningioma brain tumour that is positioned next to the brain stem in 2018. I was also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue/ME 11 years ago. This forced me into early retirement from a job that I loved. I believe now that I had the undetected tumour then, as the fatigue has continued but I manage it now with balancing rest times and activities.

I always try to find ways of helping myself and have found the daily practice of meditation and mindful techniques positively life changing and very helpful when stressed. Acceptance of debilitating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome then the brain tumour was the hardiest, but it’s a positive thing, to accept. My mantra became ‘I am me, not M.E’ I control it, not the other way round as it used to. Qualifying to become a Meditation and Mindfulness teacher was challenging with fatigue, but I achieved it. It was difficult however to continue teaching as my speech and memory became more affected, but I pass on different techniques to my friends and family when they’re stressed, and practice it daily myself (not EVERY time I take a shower though!).

I wanted to share this mindfulness exercise and other ideas with other brainstrust ‘members’ to help those along times and also to help Jodie at brainstrust who has been my other saving grace coming to terms with the ‘new normal’.

The whole country is now facing a scary ‘new normal’ which has weirdly made me feel even stronger, as my own condition has paled into insignificance, and we are getting through this surreal time together.

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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: