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If only brain tumour research could be funded in the same way as leukaemia and other cancers

Brain Tumour Research reaction to Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey

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The first annual ‘Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey’ was released on the 27 of January 2014. The report aims to draw together the experiences of cancer patients in Wales and discover how well their holistic needs are being met.

It is striking that brain tumours, as well as other rarer cancers, have poorer experiences than more common cancers, such as breast cancer with the time and decline in health between GP and hospital appointments particularly poor. 42% of brain tumour patients saw their GP three or more times before going to hospital, the worst figure recorded, while 32% of patients felt their health had deteriorated while waiting for an appointment with a hospital doctor, the second worst result recorded. These findings highlight the need for more effort to be put into early diagnosis so that treatment for brain cancer can start as quickly as possible and be given the best possible chance of success.

The report has also highlighted the need for clinicians and health staff to help patients better understand their condition in an accessible, supportive way. Only 61% of brain tumour patients fully understood the explanation they were given on what was wrong with them while only 32%, the lowest of the groups surveyed, felt they were given easy to understand written information about their condition. Brain Tumour Research believes that no patient should be left in the dark when it comes to their treatment. Every patient should have their condition and options explained clearly and sympathetically to them in these extremely trying circumstances.

The survey was not all damming of brain cancer treatment, with high scores in the categories of contact details of key worker, understanding side effects and the availability of emotional support. On top of this brain tumour patients scored the best responses to the opportunity to discuss a care plan, 80%, and scored well in being offered a written assessment of care plan.

Brain Tumour Research are campaigning to improve the treatment and care of brain cancer patients, as well as increasing the level of research into the illness. While more money into research will improve the efficacy of treatment, as this report highlights basic care and diagnosis also need to improve.

Link to report: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/health/publications/health/reports/report13/?lang=en

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