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

BTAM, the 10-year plan and loyalty cards

by Hugh Adams

With just a few weeks to go until Brain Tumour Awareness Month gets underway, we are busy putting our plans in place for this key moment in the brain tumour community’s calendar.

This March, we will once again lead the way with a programme of activities to raise awareness of this devastating disease.

For more information, visit our Brain Tumour Awareness Month webpage.

On Wednesday 1st March, at 11am, we will mark the start of Brain Tumour Awareness Month with a minute’s silence at each of our Research Centres of Excellence, or email us to register your interest in joining us online for this poignant moment of remembrance and reflection.

Then join us as we #ShineALight for all those affected by brain tumours. Light a candle at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1st March and share a photo on social media using #ShineALight. Let’s come together and raise awareness for the one in three who know someone affected by this devastating disease.

Could you get your local landmarks to shine in our iconic Brain Tumour Research colours? Help us light up the UK this Brain Tumour Awareness Month

And let’s finish the month in style – Wear A Hat Day is back on Friday 31st March! There are just nine weeks to go now so put your thinking caps on and look super for science wherever you are.

On the eve of Brain Tumour Awareness Month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) will launch its inquiry report, Pathway to a Cure – breaking down the barriers plus we look forward to telling you about exciting events in the Senedd and in the Scottish Parliament in subsequent campaign news updates.

The big political news, this week, is that cancer will no longer have its own dedicated strategy. Instead, the Government intends to set out a plan to tackle six major conditions contributing to England’s ‘burden of disease’. In announcing this strategy, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay said that ‘tackling’ these conditions was ‘critical’ to achieving the Government’s manifesto commitment of gaining five extra years of healthy life expectancy by 2035.

Instead of a specific cancer strategy, the new strategy will combine key commitments to mental health, cancer, dementia, and health disparities into a single, powerful strategy, said the health secretary.

Mr Barclay highlighted that strategies alone will not change outcomes, and that delivery of the plan will require a concerted effort from Government and the NHS working in tandem, alongside social care, patient representatives, industry and partners across the health and care system. There is no reference in the statement to how the upcoming plan will interact with the locally determined priorities set by Integrated Care Systems, or if this plan will come with centralised, or local funding.

We are disappointed that the Government has chosen to combine these major conditions and are concerned that plans from the 10-year strategy will be watered down. We have always maintained that innovation and adequately funded discovery science must be central to any comprehensive cancer strategy. That is what patients, and their families deserve. In a combined strategy, we fear that the focus will be much less on research and much more on diagnosis, surgery, and primary care.

Where now for the ‘War on Cancer’? The fear in the cancer community is that this approach will dilute the 10-year cancer plan and will disregard much of the work done in order to get there – including the 5,000 consultation responses, amongst those from Brain Tumour Research and members of our community. As we said last week though “the political world is fast moving and constantly changing” and we – like other campaigners across the cancer space aren’t going away. The downgrading of the 10 Year Cancer Plan (and this was only being hyped as a major policy initiative a year ago) to a 5 year Major Conditions Strategy is a hurdle, a barrier but as our inquiry states we aim to break down barriers that are on the pathway to a cure.

This week, we joined the Northern Ireland Charity Cancer Site Group and were updated on cancer matters in Northern Ireland, particularly the importance of the Cancer Strategy March 2022 – which was signed off by the outgoing Minister. The themes of the strategy are: preventing cancer, diagnosis and support for people – by helping them to live well and it was stated that this represented an ambitious plan, backed by an £800 million investment. Nevertheless, the group cautioned that Northern Ireland desperately needed a functioning government as now the authorities are left hamstrung regarding decision taking. We are hopeful that Stormont will be up and running again in 2023. If you are interested in reading the strategy, you can access it by clicking on the following link:

Are you a patient, family member and/or carer of someone living with or sadly lost to glioblastoma (GBM)? We would like to invite you to participate in a Delphi Panel (being delivered by a third-party facilitator on behalf of  Novocure) to shed light on the key issues, challenges and unmet needs in the UK for people with GBM and their caregivers. 

Delphi Panels represent a systematic approach to gather expert opinion through rounds of questions that eventually lead to a consensus statement. The Delphi Panel can consist of seven to 3,000+ participants and will last three rounds of questionnaires.

Brain Tumour Research is a member of the steering committee and has contributed to roundtable discussions. We will use the outputs of the study as a resource for campaigning and engaging with stakeholders.

How can you help?

Your participation will be completely anonymous and would entail the completion of three online questionnaires about your experience as a person with GBM or a caregiver for someone with GBM in the UK.

If you would like to take part, please contact our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, Dr Karen Noble via Please include your email address so that she can share with you the link to the questionnaire.

One of the great things about being a part of a number of cancer coalitions is that we are aware of what is in the strategic pipeline before it becomes public knowledge and we did know that progress was being made for loyalty card data to potentially help identify ovarian cancer symptoms sooner. This seems such a thoughtful approach to healthcare and we applaud it. It won’t be a matter of simple translation to other cancer sites, as we know the presenting symptoms of a brain tumour are as unique, myriad and complex as the disease itself, but in time this intelligent approach could reap greater rewards in terms of earlier diagnosis across the cancer sites. As previously written in these blogs though earlier diagnosis is only truly valuable with improved interventions most notably new therapeutics and access to clinical trials. The call for better funding of the early stage science that underpins these developments runs thorough the core of Brain Tumour Research and through you, our campaigners.

Brain Tumour Awareness Month is just the time to amplify that call.

Join us because together we are stronger.

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