March is Brain Tumour Awareness Month

Lucy happy in the garden

Brain tumours are one of the most common cancers to affect children and young people.

They cause more deaths in this age group than any other cancer.

Some children may survive only a few months from diagnosis.Some brain tumours are curable, using aggressive treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Other brain tumours, however, remain incurable, with no effective treatment. Some children may survive only a few months from diagnosis.

For those who survive long-term, survival may come at high cost. The aggressive treatments can harm developing brains, causing physical and mental disabilities and a range of health problems.

Read more: Blog on the importance of research into brain tumours

Stories of children with brain tumours

Rhiley smilingRhiley

When Rhiley was two years old she was diagnosed with a rare tumour called ATRT that started in her spine and spread to her brain.

Rhiley went through gruelling treatment and sadly passed away two weeks after her third birthday, just under a year after diagnosis.

Read more: Rhiley's story


Jarvis and sisterEleven year old Jarvis felt unwell and dizzy one Sunday while playing football. At first he was treated for an ear infection, but then an MRI scan revealed a brain tumour.

He was operated on, followed by chemotherapy and lots of aftercare.

He is now 15 years old, doing well and living in Australia!

Read more: Jarvis' story


Elin in hospitalElin was having terrible seizures for two years before she was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour. She was five years old.

She went through 18 months without a diagnosis until an MRI eventually revealed the tumour.

She had an operation to remove the tumour.

Read more: Elin's story

More stories of children with brain tumours

Children with Cancer UK Brain Tumour Initiative

Research into brain tumours, in general, and childhood brain tumours, in particular, has not been well-funded in the past despite the very high burden imposed by these tumours.

To address this, in 2014 we launched a new initiative to drive progress in childhood brain tumour research, committing funds of at least £3 million over three years for new brain tumour research.

Our researchers work together to share samples, data and expertise, both nationally and internationally.

In March 2015, we awarded the first major project grants under this call, at a total cost of £1.81m. An important feature of the four funded projects is that they are highly collaborative, with researchers working together to share samples, data and expertise for maximum progress.

In December 2016 the second phase of funding was agreed and an additional four projects were awarded at a total cost of £1.24m. We invited research applications which sought to enhance the effectiveness of therapy through improved drug delivery systems or the use of novel technologies. The four projects use distinctly different approaches to deliver treatments of brain tumour patients.

This has brought our total expenditure of the Brain Tumour Initiative to over £3m as planned in 2014.

Read more: Brain Tumour Initiative research projects | Our other brain tumour research | Our Brain tumour workshop

Where your money goes

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