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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.

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.

Ray Shipley, who was diagnosed with a hemangioblatoma aged 25, is a senior manager of the ISV Growth Strategy at Salesforce, a cloud software company headquartered in San Francisco.

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.

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.

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:

Information and Support line

0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)

support@thebraintumourcharity.org

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

You can also join our active online community on Facebook - find out more about our groups.