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

England’s Cancer Survival Remains Behind International Standards

Brain Tumour ResearchA new report in the British Journal of Cancer this week reaffirms that cancer survival rates in England still lag behind countries with comparable health systems. The report, which can be found here, shows that the survival rates of six common cancers (stomach, colon, rectum, lung, breast [women only] and ovary) in England are lower than Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden between 1995 and 2009.

The research was carried out by a group of scientists for the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and provides the most up to date comparison of English rates possible, showing that there is still much work to be done to provide patients with world class care. Despite an overall increase in survival of 2%, attributable to ‘strategic reform in cancer control’ in the NHS, the report concludes that more investment is needed to match international standards.

Whilst we support efforts made to shine a light on the state of research funding and steps that have been taken to improve cancer care, we are concerned that this report does not take into account rarer cancers, such as brain tumours. If the report did so, worryingly the contrast between the international gold standard and English survival rates is likely to be even greater. Our report on national research funding 2013, updated in 2014, shines a light on the situation facing thousands of UK brain tumour patients every year.

We believe that the investment the report recommends has to be realised and funnelled into research. Only through research can we build a system and a range of treatments that provide patients with the best chance of survival. Studies consistently show that research in certain cancers has caused a dramatic increase in survival. This example must be followed in the future.

In order to beat brain tumours we are funding the fight – striving to build a network of seven dedicated research centres – whilst challenging the Government and larger cancer charities through continued lobbying activity to invest more in brain tumour research so that it is fair and creates the treatments patients need.

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