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The Symptoms of a Brain Tumour: Why Your GP May Miss the Signs

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Transcript of the video:

Malcolm: I am Malcolm Underhill a solicitor IBB Law. I specialise in acting for those who sustained a brain injury or have been diagnosed with a brain tumour. However I'm particularly concerned about those with a brain tumour as I see that there is really a failure in terms of making an early diagnosis of those and therefore as a consequence of that.. then their prospects of a good recovery are significantly diminished.

With me today is Becky Haggar founder of the Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Group who supports individuals with brain tumour and their families. Becky I'm first of all interested in understanding and knowing from you from your experience as to whether GPs are able to diagnose someone with a brain tumour.

Becky: Yeah and that's such an important question because it's whether the GPs know the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Currently at the moment we only actually have the signs and symptoms listed for,  general public in GPs, under children. So the adults it's just not out there so it's the awareness of multiple symptoms together. I think there's still a lot more education needs to be done within the GP and the healthcare professional sector to know what the symptoms are and what they're looking for.

Malcolm: From what I've seen is that there has been a significant lack of funding over the years when we look I think it was a period of like 2002 to 2012. For brain tumours  there is just a few million pounds worth of funding in terms of research. And you compare that with breast cancer where it's a tenfold increase so there's significant disparities there which we need to address, but coming to the point about sort of the GPs’ knowledge,  I mean what is the consequence with someone who has a delayed diagnosis -are their prospects for recovery significantly affected by that?


Becky: Huge I mean huge it's just like with any cancer. If you have a late diagnosis the cancer would have grown and if the cancers grown then the operations are going to be a lot more challenging for the neurosurgeons and the same with the chemo and the radiation. So it reduces their chance of survival.

Malcolm: And what happens when they've had that operation which I understand is often a very long operation are they kept in hospital and cared for weeks or months or are they sent home and if so with what support?

Becky: Yeah at the moment what happens is they go into hospital.. they have the operation which quite rightly as you say can be up to eight to ten hours long. They're in hospital about five to seven days then they're taken home. But there's no, literally no home care packages in place, so the family will be left to support the patient and half of the families literally won't know how to support.


And it's not so much the physical deficit it's the mental deficit.. this person has been in a traumatic place. They've more than likely had trauma before the op but their brain would have certainly had trauma during the op and recovery is a long road to recovery.

Malcolm: Now you and I are trying to play our own part in improving diagnosis by bringing this to the attention of government and making various changes etc. And I know that your group too is interested in learning from people's individual experiences. Both those who have had a brain tumour and their families in terms of what their journey is in terms of when they were diagnosed how long after symptoms and then how they were then treated and supported.


Am I right in thinking that you'd been to hear from anybody who's you know is prepared to share that on a confidential basis with you and the group.

Becky: Yes, definitely we want to hear all the stories.  Everyone is so different.. every case is very, very different. There are about 122 types of brain tumours and each one of those can be located anywhere in the brain.  It's really difficult to be able to you know have one journey. We need to know as many people's journeys and also we need to see whether they are all receiving the lack of care that isn't there. So emotionally we have found that there is just no support on counseling on mental health and well-being, on rehabilitation, on task work - all those things. So yes, we would like to hear from as many people as possible to see whether when listening to this they can say yes you know I haven't had that support.


Malcolm: Absolutely there's a lot of work to be done and we know it's going to take years to make up that gap in funding but Becky is very interested in learning about individuals’ experiences. So please contact Becky at the Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Group and she will be very pleased to receive your feedback and information. So that together we can work and improve the outcome for future patients.  Thank You Becky.

How to claim compensation for the late or misdiagnosis of a brain tumour

To discuss a potential compensation claim for the misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of a brain tumour please contact brain injury lawyer, Malcolm Underhill, via email on or phone on 0333 123 9099.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, please contact the charity by visiting: or Email: Phone Becky Haggar: 07769 323142 Phone Maria Penicud: 07933 689123.

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