Project information

Early Diagnosis for Adults

We will work to raise awareness so that brain tumours are treated earlier, with the best treatment at the right time. We will create and launch a national and sustained early diagnosis campaign for adults using evidence-based research and learnings from our childhood campaign, HeadSmart.

Development will start in March 2018 with a view to launching a sustained campaign in the autumn of 2018.

Charity information: The Brain Tumour Charity

The Brain Tumour Charity logo
  • Need


    Almost 11,000 people are diagnosed each year with a brain tumour and thousands will have a traumatic experience getting a diagnosis: 61% of cancerous brain tumours are diagnosed as an emergency, higher than any other cancer. Survival for these cases is far worse when diagnosed through another route. Worryingly, 38% see their GP 5 times or more before diagnosis. Currently, there is no campaign for adults but we know from experience that awareness raising campaigns are effective game changers.


    Our researchers at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities are in the final stages of collecting evidence to help us understand why there are significant delays in adult brain tumour diagnosis. This will enable us to develop an informed campaign focusing on public awareness, aimed at people concerned about their symptoms and professional awareness, increasing knowledge for healthcare professionals, giving confidence to refer them for a potentially life-saving scan.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours with the aim of reducing diagnosis times.


    » Develop an ongoing national campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours.
    » Gain accreditation through presenting the evidence from Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. Gain recognition through winning awards for the campaign
    » Establish partnerships with key health players and industry to drive the campaign to success.
    » Develop powerful public PR and social media campaigns and engage our high-profile supporters, like Tom Daley, to raise awareness.

    What success will look like

    When the number of visits to health professionals are halved or average diagnosis times for adults are halved, monitored through patient and clinical data.

    Aim 2

    Enable earlier access to treatments and support to patients and their loved ones after a diagnosis.


    » Give practical guidance about access to treatments and support from the point of diagnosis and beyond to improve quality of life.
    » Provide ongoing support through one-to-one support, our online community, Family Days, Information Days, Live Chat, support line and Benefits Clinic.

    What success will look like

    At least 90% of people using our support services have had an improvement in their quality of life and feel more in control of what is happening.

    Aim 3

    Develop tools for the public and healthcare professionals to prompt earlier scanning.


    » Develop a suite of innovative and appealing digital resources accessible from our dedicated microsite
    » Give clear and accessible information about symptoms, combinations and frequency and what to do if you’re concerned.
    » Develop toolkits, using the learnings and successes from our childhood campaign, HeadSmart and also, other disease areas.

    What success will look like

    When the public and health professionals are routinely accessing the tools and information. Baseline metric to be set at campaign development.

  • Impact


    Our project aims to halve average diagnosis times or reduce the number of visits to a health professional in the UK demonstrated through patient and clinical data assessments from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis. This will change the landscape of diagnosis, putting the UK on a par with the best diagnosing countries. The earlier a patient is diagnosed, the sooner they can receive treatment meaning their chances of living longer with a better quality of life could be increased.


    Raising awareness for such a serious diagnosis as brain tumours could create a resistant response from professionals or an alarmed response from the public. This will be moderated by the quality of the research carried out at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities and working in partnership with key players. If the symptoms of brain tumours are found to be ambiguous, we will work with professionals to create an agreed, NHS-approved symptom list to ensure everyone can buy into our adult campaign.


    Sharing successes will play an inherent role as we design bespoke recognition plans for our major donors, the Big Give Champions and communications for our individual donors. We will use milestones as opportunities to recognise successes more widely through animations, infographics and videos.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £175,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £15,000 Toolkit Healthcare professional toolkit
      £25,000 Learning Module Accredited healthcare professional learning module
      £10,000 Symptom Cards Symptom Cards
      £10,000 Digital Engagement Digital Engagement through social media
      £15,000 Support Increasing support for people following diagnosis
      £60,000 Digital Resources Digital Resources e.g Microsite
      £25,000 Printed Resources Printed Resources
      £15,000 Dissemination Dissemination through a PR Campaign

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    ICAP Charity Day £100,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    This is a national project, operating across the whole of the UK. The campaign will be driven through digital platforms, ensuring there are no barriers to accessing potentially life-saving information. For example, go to to see our HeadSmart campaign for children. We will also operate regionally, on the ground, through face-to-face engagement with the health professional community and key industries, like opticians who can spot brain tumours early on.


    Brain tumours don’t discriminate; they affect babies to grandparents and can kill with unforgiving speed. Late diagnosis is a key initiative as we seek to improve survival and quality of life for everyone affected in the UK. Our community has been crying out for an adult campaign so that others can access treatments sooner and receive tailored support. Professionals will also benefit by being able to access accredited training and toolkits, giving them confidence to refer for a scan.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our 5-year plan was developed through detailed stakeholder consultation, has identified adult earlier diagnosis as an urgent initiative. Our multi award-winning Headsmart campaign has already reduced diagnosis times for children with a brain tumour from over 3 months to 6.5 weeks. We rely on evidence and our service-users to guide our approach and we maintain a high performing team across The Charity to deliver informed and scalable projects with the biggest impact.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Hayley Epps

    Campaigns Manager. Hayley has led the relaunch of HeadSmart and has the expertise to launch an adult earlier diagnosis campaign.

    Nick Hodder

    Head of Digital Engagement. Nick is implementing our digital engagement strategy, including our earlier diagnosis campaign for adults.

    Sue Airey

    Head of Engagement. Sue will be engaging with healthcare professionals to raise awareness of brain tumours and the services we offer.

    Our Community

    They are experts through experience and we will, from the outset, involve them in the development and dissemination of the campaign.

Defeating Brain Tumours: Our Strategy 2015-2020