A local MP has backed an award-winning campaign to tackle childhood brain tumours by helping The Brain Tumour Charity to distribute its symptom-awareness cards to schools in his Leeds North West constituency.
The ‘HeadSmart: be brain tumour aware’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people.
Brain tumours are the biggest killer of children in the UK and more than 500 diagnoses are made each year.
Of the 500 children diagnosed annually, around a quarter will die. Death could be prevented if symptoms are diagnosed early enough.
This is why MP Greg Mulholland is campaigning to make more parents, teachers and GPs aware of what symptoms to look out for.
Currently in the UK it takes 6.9 weeks on average to diagnose childhood brain tumours: one of the longest times in the developed world.
Evidence shows that delays in the time between the first presentation of symptoms and diagnosis can have an enormous impact on the success of treatment and the likelihood of the child developing disabilities.
HeadSmart was launched in 2011 to reduce the length of time from presentation of symptoms to diagnosis and it has already made a huge difference in the last two years as the time to diagnosis has dropped from 9.1 weeks to 6.9 weeks.
The goal is to reach five weeks or less, and more than 900,000 cards have already been distributed to schools, GPs and health care professionals.
Mr Mulholland said: “We need to do all we can to raise awareness about this devastating disease and to ultimately reduce the time it takes to diagnose brain tumours in children.
“I have contacted all the local schools in my constituency to bring this campaign to their attention and hope that they help to distribute the symptom-awareness cards amongst pupils, parents and teachers.”
For more information about the ongoing campaign, visit headsmart.org.uk or the braintumourcharity.org.