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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and brain tumours

We hope this information will help address some of our community's concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). UPDATED 13 October 2020

We know that there will be a number of concerns from our community related to the coronavirus and how it can affect you following a brain tumour diagnosis. So we wanted to answer a few questions to help you worry a little less.

Where to find official guidance

This page will be updated after each briefing that will be held by the UK government to share their latest plans and updates.

It is expected that the advice will change as the situation develops so it is essential to regularly review the up-to-date information and advice. We recommend that you take a look at:

We will be trying to keep you updated with the latest information using our social media channels or closed Facebook Groups.

If you are at all concerned about anything you have read or any symptoms you may be experiencing, please contact your medical team as soon as possible, and use the NHS 111 online service or call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If you would like to talk through or clarify any of the information on this page, please contact our Support and Information Line by ringing 0808 800 0004, emailing us at support@thebraintumourcharity.org or starting a live chat. The Support and Information Line is open Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

If you have further questions that are not answered below, please send these to support@thebraintumourcharity.org and we will endeavour to answer them or share them with our expert professionals for more information.

What are the latest measures that I should be following?

(Updated: 13 October)

Following a rise in cases of coronavirus in areas in the UK, last night the government outlined a new approach to keep people safe in the UK. They have introduced local COVID alert levels, to reflect the levels of infection in different areas in the UK.

There are 3 local COVD alert levels:

Local COVID alert level: medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

What this means:

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed
  • You must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • when travelling, plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes. Walk or cycle if you can.

Local COVID alert level: high

This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.

This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • You must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Local COVID alert level: very high

This is for areas with a very high level of infection and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. You should therefore check the specific rules in your area.

At a minimum, this means:

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport
  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere
  • You must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but aim to reduce the number of journeys you make

This is the baseline in very-high alert level areas. The government will also work with local authorities in these areas to agree additional interventions where necessary to drive down transmission of the virus. These could include the following options:

  • restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (except takeaway and delivery)
  • closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
  • closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth and childcare activities and support groups)
  • closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
  • closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

We know that there are a lot of changes going on, and they can be a bit confusing to understand – but there is more information about these changes on the gov.uk website.

We will continue to update this page with any changes that could impact our community.

What's a support bubble?

A support bubble provides more support for single parents and adults living alone by enabling them to spend time with another household. The adult and any dependent children living with them will be able to form a support bubble with another household and act as if they live together. This means they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

It's important to remember that support bubbles should be exclusive. This means you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households.

Changes to shielding advice

There are groups of people who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus (COVID-19), which have been split into 2 levels of higher risk, which we have outlined below. Those considered "clinically vulnerable" ", have previously been advised to take extra precautions during the pandemic, which is known as “shielding”.

From the 1 August, the government has announced that shielding has been paused. This is because the rates of transmission of coronavirus have fallen significantly.

Learn more about shielding

Which groups of people are considered 'vulnerable'?

(Updated: 03 June)

Although everyone is at risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are some people who are at a higher risk than others. These people have been split into two levels of risk:

  • Higher risk – ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’
  • Moderate risk – ‘clinically vulnerable’

Below we have outlined the groups of people that fall into these categories:

People at moderate risk – ‘clinically vulnerable’

  • are 70 or older
  • have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • have heart disease (such as heart failure)
  • have diabetes
  • have chronic kidney disease
  • have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
  • have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
  • have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
  • are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
  • are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)

If you have any of these listed conditions, you’re advised to stay at home as much as possible but you can go out for work, if you cannot work from home, and for things like getting food and exercise. If you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household and keep to the socially distancing measures.

There’s some useful guidance on staying safe outside your home here.

People at high risk or ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
  • are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
  • are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
  • have been told by a doctor they you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
  • have a condition that means they have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
  • are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
  • have a serious heart condition and are pregnant

If you’re at high risk, you should have received a letter from your medical team. You are encouraged to follow shielding measures, which have recently been updated by the government. You can find more information here.

We know that there have been a lot of changes to the guidelines, and sometimes it is difficult to know what you should be doing to keep yourself safe. If you aren’t sure, the best thing to do would be to talk to your medical team or GP.

If you have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are experiencing any symptoms listed below the government recommends you self-isolate for 7 days.

If you are living in the same household as someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or is experiencing any symptoms, the government recommends the entire household self-isolate for 14 days. They are also advising that if you live with a vulnerable person and you are experiencing symptoms that you should try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

In either case, you should contact your medical team as soon as possible and call 111 (England, Scotland and Wales) or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If you live in a residential care setting please contact the Management Team for your setting for further information.

Read the Government guidelines

Advice from brain tumour experts

Please note: guidance in these videos was correct at the time of filming. Guidance may have changed since filming.

If you have further questions that are not answered below, please send these to support@thebraintumourcharity.org and we will endeavour to answer them or share them with our expert professionals for more information.

Below are some frequently answered questions about coronavirus developed by The One Cancer Voice group of charities. The British Neuro-oncology Society (BNOS) has also provided answers towards some of our frequently asked questions. Thank you to the BNOS Council Members for taking time out of their hectic schedules to answer these for us.

BNOS (The British Neuro-oncology society) brings together those working in all disciplines related to Neuro-oncology and exists to: promote high-quality neuro-oncology research, education and multidisciplinary patient-centred care; and. understand brain tumours to ensure the very best care is provided to all patients.

Advice for people living with and receiving treatment for a brain tumour

The information on this page was updated on 23 March 2020 based on the new guidance issued by the UK government on the 22 March 2020. We're continuously reviewing and working to bring you the latest information on coronavirus and brain tumours.

In this section:

If you have further questions that are not answered below, please send these to support@thebraintumourcharity.org and we will endeavour to answer them or share them with our expert professionals for more information.

Are people who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour more at risk?

(Updated: 06 August)

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). If you are in this category, your medical team should have been in touch with you about precautions that you should be taking.

We know that many people living with a brain tumour, may fall within these categories, and should therefore take the necessary measures to protect themselves.

The criteria for cancer patients were carefully defined, based on those with greatest clinical risk. Some cancer patients may receive a letter because they have other conditions that place them in the highest risk cohort.

If you are unsure of your risk and what measures you should be taking, you should speak with your hospital specialist. If this is not possible, you should contact your GP.

If you fall into any of the categories above and have experienced any symptoms listed below, or if you notice a change or worsening in your usual symptoms, please contact your medical team immediately and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

Remember, if you notice a change or worsening in your usual symptoms, you should always contact your medical team as soon as possible.

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What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

(Updated: 22 May at 9:30am)

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection, however if you have these symptoms or notice a change or worsening in your usual symptoms, please speak to your medical team.

The World Health Organisation has also listed the following as some of the less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhoea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.

They have also recorded the following serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • chest pain or pressure.
  • loss of speech or movement.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. Always call before visiting your doctor.

The government are asking anyone who shows certain symptoms to self-isolate for 7 days, This means they want people to stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection. After 7 days, if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to continue to self-isolate.

However, if you are living in the same household as someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or is experiencing any symptoms listed below, the government recommends the entire household self-isolate for 14 days. You should contact your medical team as soon as possible and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If you experience sweats/cough/shivering and you are currently on chemotherapy, you should call the chemotherapy care line. If the chemotherapy care line is not available in your area, please speak to your clinical team about who you should call in this situation.

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection, however if you have these symptoms or notice a change or worsening in your usual symptoms, please speak to your medical team.

The government are asking anyone who shows certain symptoms to self-isolate for 7 days, This means they want people to stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

However, if you are living in the same household as someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or is experiencing any symptoms listed below, the government recommends the entire household self-isolate for 14 days. You should contact your medical team as soon as possible and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If you experience sweats/cough/shivering and you are currently on chemotherapy, you should call the chemotherapy care line. If the chemotherapy care line is not available in your area, please speak to your clinical team about who you should call in this situation.

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What should I do if I think I have the virus?

(Added 18 March at 6pm)

If you fall into any of the vulnerable categories, and have experienced any symptoms or if you notice a change or worsening in your usual symptoms, please contact your medical team immediately and call 111 (England and Wales),the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had. In an emergency, call 999 if you are seriously ill. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.

If you do not feel you fall into the above categories and think you might have coronavirus (COVID-19), you should still make sure that you contact your medical team as soon as possible to tell them your concerns. They are likely to tell you to self-isolate for 7 days and you can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out more information or you can also call 111 (England, Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If you are living in the same household as someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or is experiencing any symptoms listed below, or you are experiencing symptoms, the government recommends the entire household self-isolate for 14 days.

If you are living with someone that is considered vulnerable, then the government recommend that you try and find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. You should contact your medical team as soon as possible and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Tips on isolation:

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Should I continue with my regular medication?

(Added: 27 March at 5pm)

You should continue to take all of the medications, which have been prescribed by your healthcare team. This includes steroids (dexamethasone) and anti-epileptic medication. You might find our ‘self-isolation tips’ blog useful for finding out more about the prescription delivery services.

Steroids

If you’re taking steroids, you should not reduce or stop taking these abruptly, without talking to your medical team. It is not yet know whether steroids can increase the risk of getting Coronavirus or the severity of the infection, but it’s important that you keep taking your treatment, to help with the management of brain-tumour related symptoms.

Anti-epileptic medication

Anti-epileptic medication are not immunosuppressant’s and you should continue to take these. Coronavirus will not increase your risk of seizures.

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Will my upcoming treatment be affected?

(Updated: 27 March at 5pm)

We know our community is thinking about the impact of Coronavirus on their treatment. Unfortunately, People’s appointments and treatments are changing during this crisis, so we are providing information about what’s happening, the reasons for changes and some advice on how to cope.

Read more about how your treatment could be affected.

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What will happen to my upcoming appointments and scans?

(Updated: 2 October at 2.00pm)

Your healthcare team will weigh up the risks and benefits of you having a MRI scan based upon your individual case. Many hospitals had suspended ‘routine’ follow-up MRI scans and procedures for some patients, such as those with stable low-grade brain tumours, who are not exhibiting symptoms. Following the latest announcement, this may lead to additional changes to appointments and procedures. However these decisions will be made upon a case by case basis and you should talk to your medical team about what impact this might have for your treatment and care.

Many hospitals have started to use telephone, email or video consultations as a way of helping people to avoid having to go into clinics and also to avoid long waits, for both regular and follow up appointments. You may be called to arrange your treatments in this way. If you have any concerns or worries about any changes or new symptoms, please do contact your healthcare team.

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Will there be problems accessing my cancer drugs?

(Added: 18 March at 6pm)

There are currently no medicine shortages as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we have stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol in the event of any supply issues. The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain to ensure patients can access the medicines they need and precautions are in place to prevent future shortages.

There is no need for patients to change the way they order prescriptions or take their medicines. Patients should always follow the advice of doctors, pharmacists or other prescribers who prescribe and dispense their medicines and medical products. The NHS has tried-and-tested ways of making sure patients receive their medicines and medical products, even under difficult circumstances. If patients order extra prescriptions, or stockpile, it will put pressure on stocks, meaning that some patients may not get the medicines or medical products they need.

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What can I do to avoid catching or spreading the COVID-19?

(Updated: 23 March at 6pm)

In addition to the latest government advice, here are the extra steps you can follow to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19):

Additional preventative measures

Additional advice that can be followed is to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) is:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. WHO have some useful guidelines for this and there is a demonstration video from the NHS
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell, and maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards

Should I attend my upcoming appointments?

If you have an upcoming hospital appointment, it can seem a bit scary to attend it, with everything happening at the moment and lots of advice about staying at home. But if your appointment hasn’t been cancelled it’s important to remember it’s still vital for you to attend if your medical team believe that it’s safe to do so.

If you’re feeling scared about this, please remember the following points:

  • Your medical team will carefully consider whether it’s safe for you to attend your appointment and take the right steps to protect you. This includes postponing or cancelling appointments if they think it necessary.
  • If you‘re no longer required to attend an appointment, your medical team will be in touch with you to explain this. If you haven’t been contacted then you should still attend your appointment.
  • Measures are being put in place to make sure anyone attending an appointment is being kept safe. This will include:
    • holding appointments in separate areas of the hospital
    • restricting the number of people you’ll have contact with
    • disinfecting all medical equipment such as MRI scanners, waiting rooms and consultation rooms
    • asking people not to turn up early to appointments, to limit the amount of time spent at the hospital
    • texting you when the clinic or scan team are ready to see you, so you can wait safely in your car.

What can I do if I feel nervous about going to my next appointment?

It’s absolutely natural to be feeling a bit nervous about attending your appointment, but the best thing you can do is contact your medical team, key worker or clinical nurse specialist. They can help to reassure you and talk you through the measures they’re taking to keep you safe.

You can also ask whether there are other options for your appointment, for example holding it over the phone or virtually.

If you have any symptoms related to coronavirus (COVID-19), such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough, please do not attend your hospital appointment. You also must not attend your appointment if you should be self-isolating because you, or somebody close to you, has, or has had, symptoms. If you aren’t sure whether this applies to you or not, please contact your medical team.

Read more about how your treatment could be affected.

DVLA and coronavirus

(Updated: 06 August)

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the DVLA is operating at a reduced capacity. During this time they’re focusing on applications from people who are directly involved in the response to the pandemic – particularly HGV drivers and key workers.

As a result, they’re unable to deal with any other paper applications until further notice.

However, the DVLA’s digital services continue to operate as normal and they’re encouraging people to use these digital services where possible.

As NHS doctors focus on responding to the pandemic, they’re unable to carry out medicals required for drivers or provide further information on applications.

This means licence applications may be delayed as road safety is the DVLA’s top priority, and they have to be sure that drivers are medically fit to drive.

The DVLA are very sorry for the inconvenience this causes but they’re asking people not to call their contact centre, unless you’re directly involved in the response to coronavirus.

However, the DVLA have recently announced that to help drivers who need to renew their licence or their entitlement to drive, where their licence expires between 1 February 2020 and 31 August 2020, they will now have a 7 month extension from date of expiry. The extension is automatic, so drivers do not need to take any action. This extension applies to all full licence renewal applications including short period medical licence and lorry and/or bus renewals. However it does not apply to provisional driving licences or where the licence needs to be renewed following a disqualification.

The DVLA are state:

“By law, all drivers must ensure that they always meet the medical standards for fitness to drive when driving. Information about driving with a medical condition is available on GOV.UK. If a driver has already applied to DVLA to renew their photocard or their entitlement, they can continue to drive while DVLA is considering their application, providing they have not been told by their doctor or optician that they should not drive.

Further information has been published advising drivers of this temporary measure.

They will be releasing more information about this shortly, and we will update our information accordingly.

Advice for people who have had a brain tumour in the past

The information on this page was updated on 19th March 2020 based on the new guidance issued by the UK government on the 18th of March. We're continuously reviewing and working to bring you the latest information on coronavirus and brain tumours.

If you have further questions that are not answered below, please send these to support@thebraintumourcharity.org and we will endeavour to answer them or share them with our expert professionals for more information.

If I’ve had treatment for cancer in the past – even if I am now in remission – am I more at risk if I get the virus?

This depends on the type of cancer and the treatment you have had and how long ago your treatment finished. Following cancer treatment, most people’s immune system either fully recovers or is not affected.

However, if you have received treatment in the last 3 months, for example chemotherapy, you will fall into one of the groups who should take particular care.

If you have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are experiencing any symptoms listed below the government recommends you self-isolate for 7 days. Contact your specialist medical team as soon as possible and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment you had.

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Advice for family, friends and carers of brain tumour patients

The information on this page was updated on 23 March 2020 based on the new guidance issued by the UK government on the 22 of March. We're continuously reviewing and working to bring you the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and brain tumours.

In this section:

If you have further questions that are not answered below, please send these to support@thebraintumourcharity.org and we will endeavour to answer them or share them with our expert professionals for more information.

I am experiencing symptoms of the virus and am a carer for someone with cancer. What should I do?

(Updated: 2 October at 2.00pm)

The Government is currently advising that if you have symptoms and you live with a vulnerable person, you should try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If this is not possible, you should try to minimise contact with them wherever possible in the household, as per the lastest Goverment advice

If the individual you are caring for falls into any of the 'extremely vulnerable' categories and has experienced any symptoms or if you notice a change or worsening in their usual symptoms, please contact their medical team immediately and call 111 (England and Wales), the National Cancer Treatment Helpline on 0800 917 7711 in Scotland, or 0300 200 7885 (Northern Ireland). Tell the person you speak to about the type of cancer and the treatment they had.

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Who will look after the vulnerable person I care for if I am unable to due to coronavirus?

(Updated: 2 October at 2.00pm)

The Government is currently advising that if you have symptoms and you live with a vulnerable person, you should try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If this is not possible, you should try to minimise contact with them wherever possible in the household, as per the lastest Goverment advice

If you provide essential care (such as help with washing, dressing, or preparing meals), you may find this guidance on Home care provision useful.

It is also a good idea to think about what happens if you become unwell. If you need help with care but you’re not sure who to contact, or if you do not have family or friends who can help, you can contact your local council who should be able to help you. Carers UK have also produced advice for those currently caring for others.

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What can I do to protect my vulnerable family member?

(Updated: 2 October at 2.00pm)

Carers UK have shared some information about guidance for carers regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

They suggest in the first instance, it is advisable to protect yourself and others by following the hygiene and infection control guidelines illustrated on the BBC's video and included under How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus on the NHS website.

If you provide essential care (such as help with washing, dressing, or preparing meals), you may find this guidance on Home care provision useful.

If you do not live with those you care for then it is best to keep in regular contact over the phone, through email or through video calls.

Families may want to think about spending time together in a different way – for example, by setting up a group chat or playing online games together. If online communication isn't possible, never underestimate the value of a regular phone call to offer social contact and support.

If necessary, make plans for alternative face-to-face care for the person you care for, for example by calling on trusted neighbours, friends or family members.

Carers UK have some information about setting up a contingency plan for care needs

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What is the latest update for schools?

(Updated: 02 October)

Schools have reopened to all age groups in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Read more about opening schools and educational settings

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International Support

(Added 01 April at 4:30pm)

It is important to remember that this information is aimed at audiences living in the United Kingdom.

There are different support sources internationally that are available for people who are affected by a brain tumour diagnosis. A number of these have information and additional support for people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). To help you find the right information and guidance for you, the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA) have put together a list of international resources.

This information may change, so try to keep up-to-date with the latest advice from the NHS, the World Health Organisation (WHO) or your Government's website:

The BBC also have continuous and up to date information regarding the latest updates from the government and news from around the world.

This information has been developed with thanks to the following sources:

More information about coronavirus COVID-19

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Tips for self-isolating

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Looking after your well-being

How to look after your mental health and wellbeing during self-isolation for coronavirus COVID-19

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If you have further questions or need to clarify any of the information on this page, please contact our Support and Information Line by ringing 0808 800 0004, emailing us at support@thebraintumourcharity.org or starting a live chat. The Support and Information Line is open Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

Media contacts at The Brain Tumour Charity

Press office contact details:

Phone: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm: 01252 237864
Out of hours media contact: 07990 828385
Email: pressoffice@thebraintumourcharity.org