Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
March 2021 is Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and is the most important month of the year for the brain tumour community.
Charities have been unearthing compelling facts and statistics for over 10 years. This year (2020) they have discovered that:
For the under 50s, brain tumours account for:
1 in 10 cancer deaths in England and Wales
For males, it is 1 in 7
For females, it is 1 in 13
What’s more, for children, brain tumours account for 1 in 3 deaths from cancer
Yet only 2% of the national investment in cancer research is now allocated to this devastating disease (just 1% since records began)
That’s 3 times less than prostate cancer, from which only 12 males under the age of 50 died in 2018
5 times less than leukaemia, which kills half as many under 50s than brain tumours
7 times less than breast cancer, despite the fact that breast cancer only kills 1.5 times more people under 50 than brain tumour
What is a brain tumour?
A brain tumour occurs as a result of an abnormal growth or spread of cells from within the brain or its supporting tissues that can damage the brain or threaten its function.
Brain tumours are divided into four classifications – grades 1 and 2 are low-grade, grades 3 and 4 are classed as high-grade. High-grade or malignant brain tumours are aggressive and can spread quickly in the brain, and are usually a serious threat to life. Low-grade or benign brain tumours are slower-growing and not usually immediately life threatening, but can still have a potentially dangerous impact on a person’s well-being.
What are the signs of a brain tumour?
Headache – which does not subside from over the counter medications
Weakness in the limbs, face, or one side of the body
Difficulty while walking
Difficulty in routine activities like reading and talking
Noticeable changes in senses like taste and smell
Bladder control problems
Changes in mood, personality, or behaviour
Nausea or vomiting
How a brain tumour is diagnosed
If you display any of the above symptoms or have any worries with regard to any indications of a brain tumour, you must visit your GP and discuss your concerns. If your GP suspects a brain tumour, then referral to a Neurologist will be made, who will perform further tests, including scans.
If a brain tumour is present, discussion will be made on the grading of your brain tumour, and what treatment is the best possible option for you.
Wear A Hat Day is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. A part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month, is taking part in Wear A Hat Day on Friday 27th March.
This event, which was started in 2010, is the most established brain tumour awareness and fundraising event in the UK. It is a great way to be involved with and to achieve a frenzy of awareness and fundraising at the end of Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
A minute’s silence
Every year at the beginning of March, to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month, a minutes silence is held to take the opportunity to pause, reflect and show our respect for those lost to brain tumours.
On the website for brain tumour research UK, they state that a short poem is read at each of their dedicated Research Centres of Excellence, at 11am. Afterwards, at their Centres, they lay a commemorative wreath at the base of each Wall of Hope.
They hope that this can become a national observance, so please consider participating in a minute’s silence wherever you are at 11am on Monday 2nd March, remembering your loved one and all of those lost to this devastating disease, with this short poem:
We thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too.
You are forever in our hearts.
If you would like to find out more about Brain Tumour Awareness, you can visit www.braintumourresearch.org for more information.