Brain cancer affects thousands of people in the UK every year. Approximately 14 people lose their lives to the disease every day. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Yet, despite all of this, less than 2 per cent of national cancer research funds are allocated to the fight against this awful disease.

Organisations such as The Brain Tumour Charity are at the forefront of the fight against brain tumours and actively run campaigns to help raise awareness which will ultimately save lives. For example, ‘HeadSmart – Be Brain Tumour Aware’, is a UK-wide campaign raising awareness of the common signs and symptoms of a brain tumour in children and young people. Since the campaign’s launch, the average diagnosis time (the time between the appearance of the first symptom and diagnosis) has reduced from 13 weeks to 7 weeks. The ultimate goal is to reduce this diagnosis time to less than 5 weeks which would reduce the prospect of long-term disability and potentially save lives.

Educating people about the symptoms of brain tumours and encouraging visits to the GP as early as possible can save lives. Persistent headaches, vomiting, seizures, blurred or double vision are all common symptoms that could possibly be experienced by someone suffering from a brain tumour. Whilst these symptoms could be caused by other medical conditions it is important to consult a GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing them. By doing so early on, you may improve the prognosis, resulting in a better quality of life for longer.

The treatment of brain tumours varies and depends on the type of tumour. A malignant brain tumour will usually require surgery to remove as much of it as possible. In addition to surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy can be used to treat any remaining cancerous tissue. Sadly, however, most malignant brain tumours do eventually return even after treatment. In the case of a secondary brain tumour (where the cancer has spread to the brain from another part of the body) a complete cure isn’t usually possible and treatment is instead focused on controlling the symptoms and the prolonging of life.

May was Brain Cancer Awareness Month and many organisations and individuals supporting the fight against brain tumours have been involved in raising funds and awareness. One particular campaign, known as GRAY, has been encouraging people to ‘do something grey in May’ for brain cancer awareness.

In order to raise money for the cause, people supporting the GRAY campaign have dyed their hair grey, painted their nails grey or even had the Grey Ribbon (a symbol for brain cancer awareness) tattooed.

There are many opportunities for people to get involved and help support the campaign. Visit and like GRAY’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Graymattters to get an idea of all of the amazing things people are doing to raise awareness and support the fight against this awful disease. Show your support by simply liking and sharing GRAY’s Facebook page.

GRAY started in May but that doesn’t mean that the raising of awareness ended on the 31st. There are many ways to support brain cancer research and awareness all year round. Donations to charities such as The Brain Tumour Charity or Braintrust make a difference. Many of these organisations rely 100 per cent on donations in order to fund scientific and medical research to achieve a greater understanding of brain cancer and develop new treatments for those affected.

By donating and showing your support you will help fund pioneering research carried out by organisations such as The Brain Tumour Charity, which really does have an impact. In 2014 The Brain Tumour Charity released its Research Impact Report to highlight the powerful influence and progress made to improve the lives and survival rates of people suffering with a brain tumour. In 2014 The Brain Tumour Charity committed to funding three new pioneering research programmes at Leeds University, Newcastle University in collaboration with the London Institute of Child Health, the Institute of Cancer Research and University College London (Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit).

Bringing together knowledge and expertise all contributes to developments in patient care and treatments. State-of-the-art diagnostic tests and a reduction in diagnosis time for brain tumours are just some examples of the amazing results and achievements through increased research into brain cancer.

So, please do something now to show your support. This could be by making a donation or by simply liking and sharing a page dedicated to raising awareness of Brain Cancer. However big or small, your support means a lot.

GRAY Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Graymattters

The Brain Tumour Charity website: http://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/

Sources:

http://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/

http://www.nhs.uk

http://www.cancerresearch.org.uk