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Discover the truth about brain tumours

Brain cancer is the only cancer to directly affect both the mind and the body. They are one of the leading cancers in children less than 15 years with hundreds of new cases diagnosed annually. There are over 120 different types of brain tumours. 40 of these are classified as malignant (cancerous.)

The location of brain tumours which include the grade, type of treatment needed to be undertaken and other factors influence the impact on the patient, their quality of life and their ultimate prognosis.

Brain tumour research funding is painfully pathetic compared to other cancers. This may due to the diverse mature of brain tumours which are cover [3] main categories: (central nervous system tumours) that are primarily 'benign'… (2). Cancer metastases (or secondary brain tumours, arising from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body).

And, although the causes maybe unknown, anecdotal evidence suggest that lifestyle changes in diet, exercise and an overall healthy regime can be helpful.

Symptoms may include some of the following: headaches (that wake you up in the morning), seizures in a person who does not have a history of seizures, cognitive or personality changes, eye weakness, nausea or vomiting, speech disturbances, or memory loss.

Brain tumours can cause complex health issues and may require intervention from numerous medical specialties. Better treatment leads to longer life expectancy and better neurological outcomes.

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Brain Cancer Awareness must highlight the critical shortages in health professionals who are best able to manage health of brain tumour patients. This coupled with a lack of funding add to a high burn out rate for doctors in the profession of neurosciences.

Brain tumours (and treatment side effects) can impair decision making and judgement and compound the challenge of treatment. There is also a low level of understanding in the medical community about brain tumours and the enormous impact they have on individuals and their families and this is why it is crucial to research as much as possible before making life-altering decisions.

Although around 70% of children will survive, they are often left with long-term side effects from tinkering around with the brain as it is such a sensitive organ which does not only include grey & white matter but also the CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) and the blood brain barrier.

Around 9000 new cases of brain tumours are diagnosed each year and 5000 will lose their lives including half of children. These numbers exclude an estimated 2000 so-called benign brain tumours that may cause disability or (rarely) death but will grossly affect the quality of life if not diagnosed and treated successfully early.

These brain tumours are the 2nd highest cause of death for children aged 1 - 14 years from all causes - second only to accidental drowning/immersion and highest cause of death in this age group from cancer - an average of 33 deaths per year (2003-2007) according to UN WHO.

They are also among the highest cause of death from cancer in people aged 1-39 (average of 120 deaths per year in 2003-2007) with no significant change in five-year relative survival between 1982-1986 and 1998-2004 (19%).

The largest lifetime financial costs faced by households of any cancer type stand at about £100K per person, and highest lifetime economic cost of any cancer type, at £1.3 million per person. This includes more than 5,000 hospitalizations; 12.5 days average length of stay in hospital (2008-09).

Brain tumour research funding is also chronically low in relation to the devastating burden of the disease - along with lung cancer and mesothelioma, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma and other cancers.