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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Cancer highlighted as leading cause of childhood death in Europe

Many of those in the brain tumour community are only too aware that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

But how many people realise that cancer remains Europe’s leading cause of death by disease in children aged over one?

This staggering statistic is from the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) which exists to promote optimal standards of care for children and adolescents with cancer.

According to the society, every 15 minutes a family in Europe receives the devastating news that their child has cancer while every year, 350,000 new childhood cancers are diagnosed, and more than 6,000 young people die from the disease. In addition to this, 60% of 500,000 survivors experience long-term adverse side-effects.

Writing in the European Parliament magazine, Pamela Kearns, President of SIOPE, makes the point that while adult cancer therapies are evolving with more innovative medicines reaching Europe, younger patients are being left behind:

“New medicines play a crucial role in improving the quality and length of the lives for many childhood cancer patients but disappointingly their progress has levelled off.”

The article also highlights the fact that there are up to 20% differences in survival rates of children with cancer among European regions. It says that lack of innovation is “the elephant in the room” to blame for the slow pace of innovation and blames “individual rarity” for the fact that paediatric cancers have seen limited market innovation.

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