Charities call on governments to close the deadly cancer gap

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Brain Tumour Research is supporting Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day. Taking place every year on 11th January, this awareness day aims to increase support for national action to improve survival rates for the six less survivable cancers: brain, liver, lung, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach. 

These six cancers are responsible for 40% of all cancer deaths and make up a quarter of cancer cases each year in the UK. Together, they have an average five-year survival rate of just 16%. 

As a registered supporter of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, Brain Tumour Research attended a Westminster event aimed at increasing awareness of the fact that the UK needs to do more for people diagnosed with a less survivable cancer – the UK ranks 22nd out of 29 comparable countries for survival of brain cancer. 

Thomas Brayford, our Policy and Public Affairs Manager, said: “We take every opportunity to raise the case of brain tumour patients and their loved ones with politicians, and were proud to attend this meeting to call for ring-fenced research funding for the development of innovative measures for the less survivable cancers, including brain tumours. This disease must be made a strategic and clinical priority as brain tumours are a cancer of unmet need.” 

Earlier this week, the Health Select Committee met to explore the extent to which innovation can improve the outcomes of the least survivable cancers. The first session of the Future Cancer Inquiry examined measures which could improve poor rates in early diagnosis and lead to increased life expectancy for the likes of brain, pancreatic and some respiratory cancers. 

Dr Paul Mulholland, honorary associate professor at University College London and consultant in medical oncology at University College London Hospitals, speaking at the inquiry session: “What we really need is to engage the pharmaceutical industry to conduct more clinical trials in brain tumours.” 

Speaking after the inquiry session, Thomas added: “Brain tumours are a uniquely complex disease and an innovative approach is necessary to find new treatments. The route to clinical innovation and new therapeutics remains underpinned by appropriate funding of the early-stage research which begins the translational pipeline. We are campaigning for UK governments to ensure research into brain tumours is appropriately funded so that we can make the progress so desperately needed if we are to improve outcomes and, ultimately, find a cure.” 

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