March was Brain Tumour Awareness Month and I was delighted to recently team up with the Brain Tumour Charity to host an event in the Houses of Parliament.
The information session was held to highlight the shocking fact that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and people under the age of 40, in the UK. Brain tumours also, on average, reduce life expectancy by 20 years.
The Brain Tumour Charity is at the forefront of the fight to defeat brain tumours, making a difference to the lives of people with a brain tumour, and their families. It funds pioneering research to increase survival, raises awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours, and provides support for everyone affected.
To mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month the Brain Tumour Charity launched a new report “The Price You Pay” on the financial impact of a brain tumour. The report displays the difficulties that many patients and carers face, including reductions in household incomes and inadequate support through the benefits system. It describes how 80% of brain tumour patients have had their working lives affected since diagnosis, and also provides recommendations on how the benefits system should be improved to help those who suffer a brain tumour.
I have been raising concerns in Parliament, including a question to the Prime Minister, about the case of one of my constituents who had a malignant brain tumour removed over 20 years ago. As a consequence she still suffers from severe headaches, along with back and neck pains. Despite experiencing no improvement in her condition she has been faced with a reduction in her benefit payments. This tells me that our benefits system needs to be reformed to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including those affected by brain tumours.
It was pleasing that a significant number of MPs, from across all the political parties, attended the information session.
I look forward to continuing to work with the Brain Tumour Charity to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by patients with brain tumours, and support their excellent work.
More information on the work of the Charity can be found at www.thebraintumourcharity.org