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UK Government acknowledges more must be done for brain tumour patients


Following on from the success of the recent Parliamentary Debate, the brain tumour community has welcomed an announcement that the Government has formally acknowledged more must be done for brain tumour patients and their families.

We have been lobbying with the national charity Brain Tumour Research and an online petition which lead to a debate at Westminster and has prompted a package of measures.

We are extremely proud to be part of a UK-wide network of patients, families, activists and other charities campaigning at the highest level and that the woeful underfunding of brain tumours has now been acknowledged.

Health Minister George Freeman MP has announced:

  • A “Task and Finish” working group at the Department of Health looking at areas highlighted by the Petitions Committee report.
  • He will ask the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) produce a national register within a year to examine how public funds are spent on research.
  • Work will be done to improve levels of earlier diagnosis and that brain cancer will be included in the Genomics England programme.

The undertaking was made at a Westminster Hall debate on Monday 18th April which had been prompted by the unprecedented success of the petition launched by the family of Stephen Realf, lost to a brain tumour at the age of 26, and championed by Brain Tumour Research. It follows the release last month of the Petitions Committee’s report, “Funding for research into brain tumours”, which stated that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades”.

Mr Freeman formally accepted the Petitions Committee report, which has been described as “damning”, and recognised the “extraordinary call from people for the disease to be given higher priority”.

The Health Minister highlighted some of the most disturbing facts around this issue, including how “400 children a year are diagnosed, and we just do not understand or know exactly what is driving it”. 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 has been allocated to this devastating disease. He also pointed out that “unlike for most other cancers, brain cancer mortality rates have increased”.

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “This debate was the most significant opportunity so far for MPs to consider this vital issue. It was their chance to listen to the 120,000 people who signed the petition, their constituents, and the 16,000 people facing this diagnosis every year.

“So many of the key issues highlighted in our Invest In a Cure manifesto have now been addressed and we will continue to apply pressure to ensure genuine progress is made. We have reached an important milestone on our journey and we will continue with renewed hope and determination.”

To find out more please visit Brain Tumour Research 

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