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Press release

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

“I’m determined to make the most of every day”: Brain tumour patient defies the odds to outlive bleak prognosis

“I’m determined to make the most of every day”: Brain tumour patient defies the odds to outlive bleak prognosis

A brain tumour patient is celebrating surviving for five years after his diagnosis with a highly aggressive type of tumour.

When Waterlooville resident Richard Preston was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in November 2013, he was given a dire prognosis of just two years to live.

But now, Richard is doing well and will soon be celebrating his 50th birthday – a day he thought he would never see. On average, just 20% of brain tumour patients survive for five years or longer post-diagnosis.

Richard, a former technical specialist at KCOM, who lives with his wife Wendy, said: “There are four categories of brain tumour and mine is the worst one, grade 4. I’ve been told that it may have been there for many years, before something just accelerated the speed at which it grew.

“I endured a five-hour, high-risk operation, followed by 11 gruelling months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And, while I’m one of the minority of patients to have lived for five years after my diagnosis, the effects this treatment are long-term. My sleeping patterns have been badly impacted and as a result I can no longer continue my work. I also suffer from short-term memory problems which massively affects my daily life.

“Despite the difficult days, I’m keen to celebrate the fact I’m still here. On Saturday 12 January, Wendy and I threw a huge party at Chichester Park Hotel and invited more than 65 members of our family, friends and work colleagues.

“The evening also marked our fifth wedding anniversary. We got married just three weeks after I finished my radiotherapy, after being together for 25 years, and I’m so thankful to Wendy for being by my side every step of the way.

“My diagnosis was an awful reminder of how fragile and cruel life can be and, because of this, I’m determined to make the most of every day I have on Earth.”

In the darkest of times, Richard and Wendy have worked tirelessly with the Brain Tumour Research charity to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40. The charity funds four dedicated Research Centres of Excellence in the UK, including one at the University of Portsmouth.

And, in just a couple of months, schools, businesses and individuals across Portsmouth will be signing up to the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day. Taking place on Friday 29 March, the fundraiser will see people across the region and around the UK don their hats in support of Brain Tumour Research. It’s the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event and has raised over a million pounds since it was launched by the charity 10 years ago.

Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the South East, said: “Richard is remarkable and, despite having to come to terms with such awful news, remains positive in his outlook on life. We hope that he inspires people to take part in Wear A Hat Day to help find a cure for this merciless disease.”

Brain Tumour Research also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

To get involved in Wear A Hat Day, or to donate, please visit:

Or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5*


* Texts cost £5 plus network charge. Brain Tumour Research receives 100% of your donation. Obtain the bill payer’s permission. Call 01908 867200 with any queries.

For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 or


Brain Tumour Research Press Releases – Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.

We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.

We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the ground-breaking research needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. We are also represented on the Steering Group for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. 

Key statistics on brain tumours:

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

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