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Employment and brain tumours

Staying in, returning to, or looking for work after a brain tumour diagnosis can be quite a challenge - for people who have a brain tumour and for people caring for them.

Receiving a brain tumour diagnosis is a life-changing event that often has a far-reaching effect on your ability to stay in employment or find a job in the future.

You might need to take a significant amount of time off for appointments, treatment and recovery. It can also be much harder to work in the same way as before because of side-effects caused by the tumour or its treatment - for example, unmanageable fatigue or cognitive difficulties.

If you're concerned about the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, our experienced benefits advisor has written a blog post explaining how you may be affected and what support could be available.

Find out more

Have you had to reduce your working hours or give up work completely?

If you’re feeling fed-up, frustrated or depressed that you can no longer work as you used to, use BRIAN’s quality-of-life tracker to record how you’re feeling each day and use this to open up conversations with your loved ones and your healthcare team.

Have you had to reduce your working hours or give up work completely?

BRIAN is our trusted online app where you can track your experience, compare it with others who’ve been there and get the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.

Download our BRIAN app on the App Store    Download our BRIAN app on Google Play

Click here to visit the BRIAN website

Many people have to give up work entirely, change job, or reduce their hours or duties. If a partner is acting as a carer, their work may be affected too. As a result, financial difficulties are common for families affected by a brain tumour.

It's completely normal to worry about the potential financial impact of your diagnosis or feel anxious about how your employer will react to the situation. Many people in our community also speak about the loss of identity and purpose that work can provide.

Simply being more aware of your employment rights can help you feel less anxious about the situation. The resources below have been developed to help you understand your rights and make sure you:

  • receive equal treatment at work
  • receive equal treatment when job hunting
  • aren't discriminated against because of your diagnosis.

I was told I had to stop working in my current role and was placed into an alternative office-based role.

Read Mark's story

Mark Grimes, diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015

"In February 2015, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, following symptoms for six months or so. I underwent an awake craniotomy in April 2015. 

"I work in the fire service, which was always my childhood dream job, but on receiving my diagnosis I was told I had to stop working in my current role and placed into an alternative office-based role. This was hard as it was the complete opposite of why I initially joined the service.

"Following my second surgery, and with a new management team, I’ve remained on full pay up until now. I went through Radiotherapy from August to October last year and I’m still going through PCV Chemotherapy which started in February and will finish in October this year, so I’ve been having treatment for over a year since my second surgery. 

"I’m in constant communication with my watch, either by drive-in visits or social media chats, which has made things better during the COVID-19 pandemic, as I had to shield.

"Thanks to the ongoing support of my family and work, I’m getting through this."

Join one of our Online Support Communities for more stories and tips about coping with a brain tumour diagnosis from people who know what you're going through.

Our employment resources can help you decide whether you want to tell your employer about your diagnosis and guidance on how to have that conversation. There are also suggestions of "reasonable adjustments" that could be made by your employer to help you to stay in employment.

Much of the information is also applicable for those caring for somebody living with a brain tumour diagnosis. There is also a resource specifically for employers to help them understand their responsibilities and how they can better support you.

Our Employment resources have received commendation by the British Medical Association (the professional body for doctors in the UK) in the BMA Patient Information Awards.

Join one of our our Online Support Communities for more tips about coping with a brain tumour diagnosis, from people who truly understand what you're going through.

Find out more

Get support

If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.

I struggle to work

Tasmin is a single mother of three children, and lives in Cheshire. She was diagnosed with a meningioma in 2013 and underwent a craniotomy. She is a midwife but has struggled with work and finances since the onset of her tumour.

Share your experiences and help create change

By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:

Support and Information Services

0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)

Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

You can also join our active online community - Join our online support groups.