Hastings brain tumour patient welcomes report into financial burden of disease

Brian and his wife. SUS-181030-100930001
Brian and his wife. SUS-181030-100930001

A patient hit by the devastation of a brain tumour diagnosis has welcomed a new report exposing the punishing financial burden of the disease.

Brian Rockell, 70, from Hastings, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive type of tumour, in March 2016.

Brian, whose eyesight and hearing has deteriorated, relies on his wife Fay to care for him.

She gave up her job as a teacher, which dramatically reduced their income, and they face regular trips to and from hospital appointments, with mounting costs of parking.

He said: “More than two years on, I still need a lot of help and even survivorship has a huge mental health impact and I can no longer do many things I once enjoyed.

“I try to support others suffering the same diagnosis, instead of my former very active life. Additionally, we have significant regular travel costs to attend appointments 40 miles away.

“I calculate the financial cost of my brain tumour diagnosis to be around £50,000 net to date.

“After my diagnosis, I was transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Looking back, the surgery was the easy part.

“I had no idea then how much support I would need as a patient and how different my life was about to become after the diagnosis of right temporal glioblastoma, a rare and incurable brain cancer.”

The report, Exposing the Financial Impact of Brain Tumours, released by the Brain Tumour Research charity on October 15, reveals the financial impact of a brain tumour diagnosis is double that for all cancers.

The report, based on the experiences of 368 people, will be fed into a formal inquiry into the hidden costs of a brain tumour being led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours.

It found there was an average financial loss of £14,783 per household per year – more than double the £6,840 for all cancers – and households face an annual rise in household bills of £1,000.

Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “The financial penalties, the loss of independence and the consequential feelings of isolation compound the poor prognosis endured by brain tumour patients and this has got to stop.”

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