The 16th annual International Brain Tumour Awareness Week runs from Saturday 29th October to Saturday 5th November this year.
The week is an opportunity to raise awareness of the symptoms and impacts of a brain tumour, and to campaign for more research to drive change in the treatments offered. The week also aims to encourage supporters to organise their own fundraising activities for local or national brain tumour charities.
Around 11,000 new cases of primary brain tumours are diagnosed in the UK every year.
Treatments have remained relatively unchanged for nearly 50 years and brain tumours are now the biggest cancer killer of people aged 40 and under in the UK.
Currently, just 1.37% of the national cancer research spend is dedicated to brain tumour research.
Since the 1970s, there has been very little change in the range of treatments offered to those diagnosed with a brain tumour. Survival rates have equally stagnated, and are some of the poorest of all cancers.
Take glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of adult brain cancer.
Current standard treatment consists of debulking surgery to remove tumour cells, and chemoradiation.
However, almost 100% of glioblastoma recur between six and nine months after surgery, leading to a dire average survival rate of just 15 months following diagnosis.
Research using viable tissue is key to understanding what allows these tumours to grow back, in order to create targeted treatments which will prevent recurrence.
While many high-grade brain tumours can be deadly and are currently incurable, less invasive and aggressive low-grade tumours can leave patients with life-changing side effects including vision problems, memory loss, mobility issues and fatigue, as well as an often dramatic change in personality.
Common initial symptoms of a brain tumour include vision problems (including blurred vision, tunnel vision, black spots, double vision, seeing shapes or a change in the position or shape of the pupil), nausea, seizures, headaches, cognitive issues, personality changes, and changes to speech patterns. Less common signs of brain tumours may include hearing problems, drowsiness, loss of balance, twitches, numbness or weakness in the limbs, and changes in your sense of smell.
International Brain Tumour Awareness Week is coordinated each year by the IBTA.
By raising awareness of the symptoms and need for more research, International Brain Tumour Awareness Week aims to stand up for the thousands of patients and their families who are impacted by this devastating illness every year around the world.
Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity (YBTC) is the region’s leading charity dedicated to funding brain tumour research and patient and family support. YBTC funds various research projects in hospitals in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull, as well as the Leeds Neuro Research Tissue Bank.
Find out more at yorksbtc.org.uk