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Press release

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

Bereaved father welcomes first-ever Inquiry into economic and social impacts of brain tumours

Feb 28, 2018

The father of a promising athlete who died of a brain tumour has welcomed the first-ever Westminster inquiry into the economic and social impacts of the disease.

Lucy Beesley was just 25 when she died last March, having battled glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and incurable form of the disease, since the age of 19.

A former teaching assistant, Lucy had been a member of the Anglesey Island Games squad competing in Bermuda and Jersey in 2013 and 2015. She remains Anglesey’s all-time record holder in the women’s 100 metres.

Her father Nigel Beesley, from Marianglas, was among families, patients, charity campaigners, scientists and politicians who gathered at Westminster on 27th February for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPGBT) on brain tumours.  The cross-party group, set up to champion the cause of brain tumours, announced a new Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of the disease. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Nigel said: “Lucy was diagnosed in December 2010 and her prognosis was very poor but with her own self will and the fantastic support received, she lived far beyond expectations. I think this is by far one of the most traumatic experiences any family could have to deal with and the burden it places on you and those around you is enormous.”

The Inquiry announcement comes just weeks after former Minister for Public Health and Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, shared her story with the BBC and the House of Lords about her own brain tumour diagnosis. Baroness Jowell was diagnosed with a high-grade GBM – the same brain tumour type as Lucy - after a seizure in May 2017 left her hospitalised. Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.

APPGBT chair, Derek Thomas MP, said: A brain tumour is a devastating and costly business for the patient and everyone around them. Costly on a personal level in terms of the lives damaged and cut short, costly in terms of the diagnosis, treatments and medical support required or sought, and costly in a whole myriad of ways in which we only have the smallest glimpse. The APPG wants to shine a light on these impacts as we strive forward in finding a cure.”

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of the charity Brain Tumour Research, which provides the secretariat to the APPGBT, said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. It is vital that we understand the true impact of the disease on patients, families and the wider public, in order to effect the positive change which is so desperately needed.”

Albert Owen, MP for Ynys Môn, said: “I was fortunate enough to meet Lucy, an inspirational young woman, when she came to me to raise awareness of brain tumours. I also welcomed her father to Parliament to support the campaign for more research into brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40.

“Having been touched by Lucy’s story, and having experience of this devastating disease in my own family, I call on government to increase research funding for brain tumours.”


For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867226 or 7887 241639 or


Notes to Editors:

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) was established in 2005 to raise awareness of the issues facing the brain tumour community in order to improve research, diagnosis, information, support, treatment and care outcomes.

Since 2005, MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum have worked together in supporting the brain tumour community, researchers, clinicians and most importantly, patients and their families. Led by the Chair of the APPGBT, Derek Thomas MP, Officers oversee the Group’s activities and promote the issues of the brain tumour community across Parliament and beyond. Brain Tumour Research provides the secretariat for the group.

APPG on Brain Tumours Inquiry Panel will consist of parliamentarians joined by representatives of patients and carers who work to raise awareness of brain tumours, support patients and their families and invest in brain tumour research. Brain Tumour Research will provide the Secretariat for the Inquiry and produce the report, expected to be published in the autumn.

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We have established a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, over £6 million was raised towards research and support during 2017.

We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The unprecedented success of our 2015 petition led to the 2016 Westminster Hall debate and Brain Tumour Research taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research with the report being published in 2018.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • They kill more children than leukaemia
  • They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
  • In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.