Andrew Selous is the Member of Parliament for South West Bedfordshire and is the new Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours. Follow Andrew on Twitter.
In the long battle against cancer, brain tumours are a rare exception to a story of general progress. They have actually increased by a quarter in the last three decades. Thankfully, we are now at a stage where only five per cent of breast cancer patients and seven per cent of prostate cancer patients die within a year of diagnosis. But 58 per cent of brain tumour patients die within a year.
Perhaps most tragically, brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer deaths in children – and in adults under 40. Almost three quarters of brain tumour deaths occur in those under 75, whilst for cancer as a whole it is less than half. Because they strike so young, each brain tumour robs someone of an average of more than 20 years of life, more than any other cancer.
Even in the toughest fiscal environment, there is a case for allocating a fairer proportion of existing funding into vital research into the causes of, and treatment for, brain tumours. This is not government making unaffordable commitments: the vast bulk of cancer research funding in the UK comes from the charitable sector – but too little of it seems focused on this major killer.