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Press release

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

Widower tells MP of harrowing brain tumour loss

Widower tells MP of harrowing brain tumour loss

A grieving husband who lost his wife to a brain tumour has told a Westminster inquiry of the burden placed on his family by the harrowing disease.

Glenn Karpel, aged 63, from Warfield, near Bracknell, was speaking at an inquiry into the economic and social impact of brain tumours. He was at Westminster on Tuesday 3rd July for the final evidence session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT).

Glenn’s wife, Penny Rowland, was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour after suffering a blackout. She passed away eight years later in September 2017 at the age of 66 leaving two grown-up daughters Claire and Stefanie.

Glenn told the inquiry: “The last year of Penny’s life was a nightmare as her daughters and I looked everywhere to find a way to extend her life. We did all we could but, in the end, we had to accept there was no more treatment available and, devastatingly, Penny slipped into a coma. An agonising 12 days later, still at home and with her family by her side, Penny took her last breath.

Carrie Hume, Head of Public Affairs at the Brain Tumour Research charity, explained that “Too often the shock of a brain tumour diagnosis is compounded by loss of income, loss of a driving licence, loss of independence and ensuing financial insecurity. We need to spell out to MP’s just what the real cost of a brain tumour diagnosis is. We really appreciate the courage Glenn showed in explaining his experience to the inquiry.”

Glenn was among 200 people who gave written submissions to the inquiry and one of 23 people including patients, relatives, charity representatives, scientists and clinicians, who spoke to the panel.

The APPGBT Inquiry report, and its formal recommendations to Government, are currently in the process of being drafted and are due to be published in late 2018.

A former dance teacher, Penny is now remembered in a fundraising group In for a Penny which is working with the Brain Tumour Research charity. To make a donation in memory of Penny go to


For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639


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 basic research groundwork 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). We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy 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
  • 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.