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Cancer registration statistics England released today

The number of brain tumours diagnosed among children has shown little change from the previous year, according to provisional, cancer registration data released by Public Health England (PHE).

In 2018, there were 286 new cases for those aged 14 or under across England, a drop of only five relative to 2017, with 56% of the patients being male.

Furthermore, there has been an increase of almost two-thirds in child diagnoses of benign brain tumours, as cases augmented for both males and females.

Overall, 5,282 adults and children were registered with a malignant or benign tumour over the most recent year, amounting to around 14 people each day.

A more complete dataset, featuring a breakdown by region, is set to be published in the spring.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, a further PHE release reveals that, in the first quarter of 2019, 53% of first hospital admissions for malignant brain and central nervous system tumours were presented as an emergency.

The proportion has risen by four percentage points from the last time point, and is now at its highest level since the end of 2014. Moreover, the figure is beyond that for all other cancer sites, with the exception of acute myeloid leukaemia and pancreatic cancer.

Moreover, this metric is a determinant of cancer outcomes – indeed, previous PHE research showed that survival rates for brain tumour patients were typically significantly lower among those who were an emergency presentation.

Consequently, The Brain Tumour Charity has campaigned on the early diagnosis of brain tumours. Our award-winning Headsmart initiative has informed parents and healthcare professionals across the UK about the symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people, resulting in diagnosis times being reduced from 13 weeks to 6.5 weeks.

However, our ultimate objective is to bring diagnosis down to under four weeks, while also tackling adult diagnosis times, to ensure that all patients have the best possible chance of survival.