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

New Cancer Research UK Figures Highlight Need for More Brain Tumour Research

Cancer Research UK released figures today, World Cancer Day 2015, showing that one in two people will develop cancer in their lifetime. The report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, has the most accurate figures and forecasts ever available and hammer home the importance of research in battling cancer.

World Cancer Day-page-001

Professor Peter Sasieni of St Mary’s College has said that “Cancer is primarily a disease of old age, with more than 60 per cent of all cases diagnosed in people aged over 65. If people live long enough then most will get cancer at some point” and goes on to state the prevention, quitting smoking and moderating drinking for example, of cancer is the best way. Whilst this is true for the majority of cancers, less than 40% of those diagnosed with cancer are under the age of 65, we have continually found in our analysis that it is not the case for brain tumours. 52% of brain tumour patients are under 65, with brain tumours the largest cancer killer of children. We are concerned that studies such as the one today forget the effects of cancers on children and the young and the urgent need for more research into new cancer treatments for those cancers.

As our 2013 and 2014 reports have shown, brain tumours are a young person’s disease, responsible for 20 years of life lost in the average patient. We believe that more focus needs to be given to cancers that effect the young disproportionately so that all cancer patients have the opportunity to reach old age. This focus has to take the form of increased research – not prevention – because we simply have no way to prevent brain tumours as we do not yet know the cause.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease. This is unacceptable! Our understanding of the biology of the tumour has to be advanced soon if we are to make a meaningful attempt at reaching the survival rates of other cancers, rates that have doubled in the last 40 years, and we call on Cancer Research UK to join us in our fight against brain tumours.

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