Blogger: Millie FullerGuest blogger, Millie Fuller, shares her thoughts on Brain Tumour diagnoses for those diagnosed and their loved ones.

Let’s not pretend; brain tumours are devastating and alter lives. Only 12% of people with malignant growths in this area survive beyond 5 years due to the significant morbidity.

Getting diagnosed can be traumatic and have a negative effect on one's physical and emotional health, not to mention the knock-on effect of costs if time off work is required. When you don't know how to support them or what to anticipate, receiving a brain tumour diagnosis can be very stressful for those closest to them.

What might happen next

Their first response

When a brain tumour is first discovered, it can be hard to figure out how to think and feel. They can be frightened, surprised, outraged, or stunned. Furthermore, after getting the news, it's natural to experience numbness.

Everyone will behave differently after a diagnosis, and some people may need longer to absorb it. 


Their personality might change

A variety of changes in personality may happen depending on the position and extent of the tumour. Observable shifts range from hostility to indifference, to confusion and anxiousness, mood swings, and depression.


There may be related cognitive symptoms

Reasoning, recollection and language can all be affected by brain tumours. This can include disorientation, trouble concentrating, poor communication, and memory lapses. People with brain tumours may struggle to keep up relationships and operate in an office environment as a result.


There may be related physical symptoms

Physical symptoms, like migraines, seizures, and feelings of numbness or tingling in different body parts, can be brought on by brain tumours.

Another common symptom is issues with speech. For example, difficulty comprehending what others are saying or speaking coherently. Others include malaise, muscle weakness or paralysis, poor balance, and visual disturbances like double or cloudy vision.


Supporting someone diagnosed with a brain tumour

Practical assistance you can give

Brain tumours have a profound effect on the bodily and psychological health of those affected, but practical help can be immensely valuable; by handling minor jobs for them, they can try to concentrate on themselves and their health rather than fretting over matters like meal prep, running errands, cleanup, washing up, and gardening.

Someone's quality of life can be strengthened at a trying time if you can aid them with their daily tasks. Your effort, regardless of how minor it may appear, is highly appreciated.


Supporting them emotionally

Giving a friend or relative confirmed to have a brain tumour moral support is one of the most beneficial things you can do to help them. Oftentimes, soothing kindhearted words are worth more than anything else.

Someone who actively seeks to understand the thoughts and feelings of others throughout a discussion is regarded as a good listener. You don't need to be the one with all of the answers, but if you're compassionate, you can make a difference.


It's key to let those who have recently had a brain tumour diagnosis guide the discussion. Subsequently, they'll be able to talk and express their emotions in their own manner. You can reassure them that it’s right to be sad or angry. Even so, it's still normal if they don't shed tears.


Things to avoid saying (and what to say instead)

It may be difficult to formulate an adequate response when someone confides in you that they're suffering from a brain tumour. It's normal to be cautious or nervous. The main thing is to be supportive, sympathetic, and receptive.

Instead of stating, "I knew someone who had that," or "You're so resilient," try to say, "I don't know how to respond, although I'm here for you."


Taking time to care for yourself when supporting others

Witnessing a loved one suffering with their condition is distressing. It's even tougher when that someone was there for you constantly and offered you a sense of security.

Caregiving can be both psychologically and physiologically taxing, especially when you yourself are devastated for the person you're caring for. Further, carers so often are unaware of their own diminishing mental wellbeing.

Caregivers can be mentally as well as physically burned out. If you don't address your own needs, it may get worse. Even if you don't feel like doing it, you ought to maintain a healthy sleeping and eating routine and take regular breaks from supporting somebody else (it's also common to feel guilty about it).


As part of the Awareness Month, we're remembering anyone who have been diagnosed with brain tumours, have recovered from them, and those that are still dealing with them. Friends and loved ones may benefit from knowing what to expect following a diagnosis as well as how to support others on their journey. Yet, it's also essential to take time to look after oneself.

Let's be compassionate, patient, and understanding when helping others through this unpleasant time.