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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

One Cancer Voice: A manifesto for people living with cancer

by Nick Perkins

Ahead of next month’s General Election, Brain Tumour Research is proud to have joined over 20 other cancer charities to launch ‘One Cancer Voice: A manifesto for people living with cancer’.

One Cancer Voice calls for the next Government to improve the lives of cancer patients by:

  • Preserving the UK’s status as a world-leader in cancer research
  • Putting the right staff in place
  • Diagnosing cancer earlier
  • Ensuring people living with cancer have access to the appropriate treatment and psychological support
  • Supporting people living with cancer beyond their treatment
  • Preventing people from developing cancer

We were especially glad that One Cancer Voice asks any future Government to support senior NHS clinicians to engage in research. This was something Brain Tumour Research pushed to include in the manifesto. Patients in research-active institutions have better outcomes than those in other institutions and are more likely to benefit from earlier access to new treatments, technologies and approaches. Involvement in research also improves health care performance overall.

The NHS Consultant Contract allocates consultants working in NHS England dedicated time in which they could undertake research. Yet, these clinicians cite a range of barriers, including time constraints, financial pressures, and a lack of skills and expertise within the workforce, that prevent them from carrying out clinical research.

NHS England, in collaboration with NHS Trusts, should work to minimise these barriers. It is vital that clinicians, especially those at consultant level with the most expertise to contribute, are actually given sufficient time to pursue their research interests as this is essential to both improving patient outcomes and growing the research base.

Beyond research, One Cancer Voice also advocates for more help to alleviate the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, a topic Brain Tumour Research examined in our report ‘Exposing the financial impact of a brain tumour diagnosis and then was the subject of an Inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours in 2018. 

Brain Tumour Research was pleased to see One Cancer Voice make two specific recommendations as regards financial support.

Firstly, the next Government should introduce a ‘Young Patient Cancer Travel Fund’ to support families who have to incur substantial travel costs when taking their child for treatment – a major issue for many families affected by brain tumours (the brain tumour community have told us that this expenditure can amount to over £1,500 pounds, which is a real burden for young families).

The manifesto also asks for financial service providers to be duty-bound to consider the impact of a cancer diagnosis on their customers’ finances, which is important as a brain tumour can result in households being nearly £15,000 worse off per year.

Brain Tumour Research was delighted to contribute to this cross-cancer sector document and strongly supports all of its recommendations. Whilst the matters raised in One Cancer Voice apply to all patients, irrespective of their exact cancer, Brain Tumour Research will continue to campaign on the issues that are more specific to brain tumours and it is opportunities like this where had we not got involved the element about clinicians research time would not have been included.

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