The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC) has discussed the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours at a recent meeting. The Brain Tumour Charity reports that one of their Involvement Champions attended the meeting at Westminster to talk about her personal experience.
Phillipa Anders recently lost her husband Rob, after he was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour in 2020. She talked about the lack of personal support Rob received at the point of diagnosis, and advocated the use of Holistic Needs Assessments to make sure patients are given sufficient advice from their healthcare team.
Philippa also raised the wider point that brain tumours are often diagnosed at the point of emergency admission to hospital, unlike many other types of cancer which are now detected by doctors much earlier. As brain tumours are responsible for the most cancer deaths in people under 40, and children, earlier diagnosis could save many lives.
Symptoms of a brain tumour include headaches, which are often combined with a frequent feeling of sickness, and problems with vision, such as the appearance of flashing lights, blurred vision, tunnel vision, or blind spots. Around eight out of 10 people will experience seizures, and some people may feel drowsy or lose consciousness.
Philippa told the meeting: ‘It is essential that brain tumours are diagnosed at the earliest possible opportunity to allow referrals and support to be put in place, but brain tumours aren’t ‘staged’ in the same way as other cancers and this needs to be factored into the NHS targets and ambition.”
She added: “The 10-Year Cancer Plan should include greater awareness and understanding of signs and symptoms, in healthcare settings, work settings, and the broader community.”
The APPGC also discussed the need for better communication between patients and healthcare professionals, better IT and digital systems, and improved staff retention rates within the NHS.
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