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

Powerful debate highlights childhood brain cancer outcomes

Paediatric brain tumours have been discussed at the first ever Westminster debate on Childhood Cancer Outcomes.

Yesterday (Tuesday 26th April), Caroline Dinenage MP (pictured) held a debate in the chamber, focusing on how to improve detection, treatment and care for children with cancer.

In her speech, Caroline said: “One in 320 people will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday – the biggest killer of children – how can it be described as 'rare'? The Government's 10 Year Plan for Cancer is a once in a generation opportunity to move the dial on these heartbreaking statistics once and for all.”

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40, yet historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Taking part in the debate was Holly Mumby-Croft, MP for Scunthorpe, who highlighted the difficulties in accessing Government-allocated funding for brain tumour research. Having attended our APPG meetings, Holly emphasised that we cannot allow a lack of progress through a paucity of funding.

Anum Qaisar, MP for Airdrie and Shotts, read a moving account from her constituent Nadia Majid, who lost her four-year-old son Rayhan to an aggressive brain tumour. The MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome, used Larsen Roberts’ story to advocate for all children with brain tumours. Derek Thomas MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT), emphasised to fellow MPs the life-long impact of a childhood brain tumour diagnosis, and the need for better options to help minimise acquired brain injuries caused by gruelling brain cancer treatments.

Responding to the inaugural Childhood Cancer Outcomes debate, Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE, said: “As well as the Governmental support offered by the NIHR, the UK government can also support discovery science through the Medical Research Council (MRC).

“Without new discoveries, the outlook for children with brain tumours is very bleak. Whilst high risk, where successful, discovery science can lead to significant progress, new ways of thinking and new treatment strategies. It is this investment in discovery science that can, in time, deliver huge improvements in patient survival.

“Somewhere between the NIHR and the MRC lies a funding solution for brain tumour research but responsibility must not be shuffled and passed on between these departments because if it is, we will continue to fail those diagnosed with this most devastating of diseases.”

The full debate can be viewed here from 15:12:35.

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