Praised for our ‘expert help’ as TV’s longest-running medical drama marks its 30th year anniversary, we are delighted to reveal that we've been working with BBC1’s Casualty on its brain tumour storyline.
Months after being approached by the Casualty team, the storyline began on Saturday July 30 2016. We're glad to report that we were able to keep our involvement under wraps and prevent any spoilers - despite our excitement.
The show's four million viewers saw Glen (Owain Arthur) tell his new girlfriend, popular nurse Robyn (Amanda Henderson) that he has a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive primary malignant brain tumour in adults.
After Casualty's summer break, the story will continue over several months, giving an excellent opportunity to help raise awareness about brain tumours. And, as the show's producers thank us for our “expert help" to accurately portray the disease and its impact, we hope it will highlight our mission to defeat brain tumours.
At first, after meeting Robyn at a support group and claiming his wife had lost her life to a brain tumour, Glen kept his diagnosis a secret from her because he didn't want her to stay with him out of pity.
But he decides to tell Robyn it's not fair on her to carry on their relationship as his tumour is terminal. She still wants to be with him, though.
Sarah Lindsell, The Brain Tumour Charity's chief executive, said; “Advising Casualty on Glen's storyline is a huge opportunity to help raise awareness about brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK.
“More than 10,600 people a year are diagnosed with a brain tumour. Like Glen, it has a devastating impact on them and their loved ones.
“Our ambitious five-year strategy, Defeating Brain Tumours, aims to double survival within 10 years and to halve the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life.
“And working with Casualty on this crucial storyline will help highlight our mission to defeat brain tumours – and stop more people going through the heartache of this cruel disease."
Along with our Support and Information team, Susan Short, Professor of clinical oncology and neuro-oncology at Leeds University also gave her expert advice.
We have worked with Professor Short for five years and last year awarded funding for her research into the use of harmless viruses which destroy cancer cells without killing healthy cells. Her team is now trialling the injections in people with glioblastoma
She said, “After working closely with the charity, I was delighted to help with Casualty's important storyline.
“While survival rates across all cancers has, on average, doubled in the last 40 years, there has been little improvement in 10-year survival rates in adults who have brain tumours.
“This is partly because brain tumour research is woefully underfunded and why the charity's funding is so crucial.
“I hope Glen's story helps to further boost awareness about the challenges of treating brain tumours."
Oliver Kent, Casualty's executive producer, said, “We've been working closely with The Brain Tumour Charity for the storyline of Glen's tumour.
“We are hugely grateful to them for all their help and expert advice on this big storyline for our characters Glen and Robyn. It has allowed Casualty to accurately portray the disease to our audience."
Casualty is now off air for the summer but returns on August 27 – its 30th year anniversary episode – when Glen and Robyn's storyline will be developed.