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the problem with brain tumours

Brain cancer is the chief cause of cancer deaths in everyone under the age of 35, with nearly 60% of men and women diagnosed with brain cancer dying within a year. Yet despite having some of the worst outcomes, brain cancer research receives less than 1% of the national spend on cancer research and as an issue it is largely ignored except when it comes to controversy over the different forms of therapies in children. One of the problems is that brain tumours are very different from other cancers, there are over 120 different types and the blood-brain barrier can hinder treatment. However, research is starting to make headway and the UK is leading the world as we start to understand this most complex of medical issues.


Leading scientists came to the SMC to discuss issues such as:

  • Why do so many more people die from brain cancer than other cancers?
  • Why does it have such an impact on young people and children in particular?
  • Why does the type of brain tumour matter and how common are the different types?
  • How do age, gender and lifestyle affect the risk?
  • Why is detecting and treating brain tumours so difficult?
  • What are our options for treatment? Why does the range of success vary so much?
  • What is needed to really make a difference? Are we missing a trick and could we easily make a big difference to survival and long-term outcomes?



Prof Geoff Pilkington, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-oncology, University of Portsmouth

Prof Silvia Marino, Prof of Neuropathology, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

Prof Oliver Hanneman, Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Institute for Translational and Stratified Medicine, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Matt Williams, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London

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