The Charity Brain Tumour Research has launched a petition to call on the government to ring-fence £110m of current and future funding for brain tumour research. The national investment represents just 1% of all cancer research funding in the UK, despite the fact that brain tumours kill more adults under 40 than any other type of cancer.
The charity calls for a strategic plan that prioritises brain tumour research and ensures that it is adequately resourced and funded, culminating in over £35m of investment by 2028. This would bring brain cancer into parity with other types of cancers such as lung, breast, and bowel cancer.
Just before Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March this year, it emerged that just £15m of a promised £40m of government funding for brain tumour research has been spent. This led to a highly critical All Parliamentary Group Report (APPG) being published and debated in the House of Lords.
The issue was also widely reported in the national press, including The Guardian. Meanwhile, a petition containing 800,000 signatures was delivered to parliament in March by a coalition of cancer charities and campaigners under the banner One Cancer One Voice.
Despite the challenging conditions that the NHS has faced in recent years, there has been some positive progress, as the government reports that cancer survival rates for the first year of diagnosis over the past 15 years between 2005 and 2020 have improved by almost 10%.
Health Minister Helen Whately said: “These figures are highly encouraging and support those released earlier this year which show improved survival rates across almost all types of cancer. They are evidence of the great strides being made by the NHS, scientists and our incredible cancer charities.”
She added: “We are laser focused on fighting cancer on all fronts – prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research and funding – and have opened over 94 ‘one stop shops’ so people can have quicker access to tests, scans and checks.”
“We are also taking a vaccine taskforce style approach to cancer research to develop new immune-based cancer therapies, including cancer vaccines, as well as producing a major conditions strategy.
“We know there is more to do and early diagnosis is crucial to improving survival rates even further. Our ambition is to diagnose 75% of cancer at an early stage by 2028 which will help save tens of thousands of lives for longer.”
The NHS has outlined details of its early diagnosis strategy to raise awareness of cancer symptoms and to encourage people to come forward as early as possible. The Faster Diagnosis Framework is part of the Long Term Plan (LTP) for NHS England. It will aim to deliver a faster and earlier diagnosis for patients.
The NHS aims to achieve this through an improved patient experience with more streamlined care and support across primary, secondary, and community settings. It will also work to increase capacity in the system. Since July 2021, 94 new diagnostic centres have carried out over 3.3m tests, checks, and scans.
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