Thousands surviving for decades after cancer diagnosis… But what about brain tumours?

Monday 1 August 2016

While a new study by Macmillan Cancer Support reveals people are twice as likely to live at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer than at the start of the 1970s, this doesn't tell the complete story.

Sixty per cent of people diagnosed with malignant brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 - will die within one year and just 19 per cent will survive for five years or more.

Sarah Lindsell, The Brain Tumour Charity's chief executive, said; “We are pleased that cancer survival has improved in many areas, but continuing poor survival rates for people with high grade brain tumours remains a scandal."

A whole cancer approach is less useful for cancers like brain tumours, where median survival has barely improved since the 1970s

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 people who have malignant primary brain tumours.

This is partly because brain tumour research is woefully underfunded and why the Brain Tumour Charity's work is so crucial – we are investing £25 million in research over the next five years.

Our ambitious five-year strategy aims to double survival within 10 years and to halve the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life.

We are also working with other charities who have similar poor survival rates, known collectively as cancers of unmet need, to ensure we are not left behind; and that the relative lack of progress in this area is not masked by improvements in survival in other cancers.

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