The Charity has been working with paediatric neuro-oncologist Nisreen Amayiri from the King Hussain Cancer Center in Jordan to roll out the Headsmart campaign to an international audience. We were asked to partner with the centre, which is the only cancer dedicated hospital in Jordan, to help raise awareness about childhood brain tumours in the region.
The Brian Tumour Charity’s Headsmart branding and collateral is now available in Arabic and is being used on a new website and various materials, including our popular symptom cards. They can now be used in the 25 countries around the world which speak the language. English versions have been made available in the region too.
This is the next step towards bringing Headsmart to a global audience to help ensure that the vital information it contains reaches a wider audience after it has previously been translated into French and Greek.
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We were very pleased and honoured that the King Hussain Cancer Center showed such interest in our award-winning Headsmart campaign. We’re very proud of what the campaign has achieved to help speed up the process the diagnosis of childhood brain tumours even though there’s still so much to be done here in the UK and overseas.
“There is a real problem with lack of information, delayed diagnosis and referral to treatment in countries such as Jordan around brain tumours affecting people of all ages. So, we welcome supporting effective diagnosis and ensure people affected by brain tumour get the help and care that they need.”
The project has been funded by a My Child Matters grant from the Sanofi Espoir Foundation. This initiative provides financial support, expertise and networking opportunities to fight paediatric cancer in developing countries.
Paediatric neuro-oncologist Nisreen Amayiri from the King Hussein Cancer Centre in Jordan said: “We do see a delay in diagnosis causing a huge impact on the quality of life for some children. This causes problems such as multiple hormonal deficiencies, and visual compromise and, on occasions, children come to us even too sick to receive treatment. Primary care doctors, specialists and the public have limited awareness about childhood brain tumours. This is even worse in nearby countries which face their own challenges, such as political conflicts.
“The Headsmart campaign is based on an excellent scientific work which we just cannot reproduce with our own limited resources. By collaborating with The Brain Tumour Charity, we are part of an international move to support and sustain this project for years to come to change the lives of children who are diagnosed with a brain tumour in Jordan and Arabic speaking countries.”
The Headsmart campaign’s goal is to reduce diagnosis times of brain tumours to four weeks or less, in line with NHS targets. This will help to stop brain tumours from being the biggest cancer killer of children and teenagers and the biggest cause of potentially treatable blindness in children - 62% of children who survive a brain tumour will be left with a life-altering, long-term disability.
The campaign has already won several industry awards and accolades in recognition of its success in cutting diagnosis time from 13 weeks to 6.5 weeks since its launch in 2012.
Dr David Walker, Professor of Paediatric Oncology at Nottingham Children's Hospital, who supported the development of the Headsmart campaign, said: “I am delighted that the HeadSmart programme has been developed for the Jordan health system. There is now a growing group of projects following the HeadSmart method, using its evidence base and awareness techniques globally.
“There is a building body of evidence that early diagnosis of a tumour drives down the chances of a brain injury for the children who are cured of brain tumours thanks to modern surgery and cancer treatment. This, of course, dramatically improves their quality of life for a happier and healthier future.”
Dr Walker added that the WHO Child Cancer Initiative has prioritised the need to ‘set and cost priority cancer diagnosis and treatment programmes’ as part of its Government awareness programmes.