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Brain: Tumours

Question for Department of Health

UIN 204635, tabled on 8 July 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 1 April 2014, Official Report, column 711, on brain tumours (children), what proportion of the £450 million which the Government has committed to enable earlier diagnosis of cancer has been allocated to reduce the delay of diagnosis of brain tumours in children.

Answered on

14 July 2014

None of the £450 million has been allocated to a specific cancer. A small part of the additional funding was held centrally for Be Clear on Cancer (BCOC) symptom awareness campaigns and for some work to help support general practitioners (GPs). The rest was allocated to the National Health Service to meet the additional costs associated with tackling late diagnosis of cancer, specifically to enable increased general practitioner (GP) access to four key diagnostic tests, including magnetic resonance imaging scans to support diagnosis of brain tumours and; the increased testing, and treatment costs in secondary care associated with more people being referred and diagnosed.

In 2012, to increase the awareness of cancer among GPs and support GPs to assess patients more effectively, the Department funded the British Medical Journal Learning to provide an e-learning tool for GPs. Four modules were developed including diagnosing osteosarcoma and brain tumours in children and young people.

This module helps GPs to understand the main types of brain tumours in children and young people, and their common presentations, and to recognise when patients need urgent referral.

To date the Department and Public Health England (since April 2013), have run national BCOC campaigns to raise awareness of the following cancers - bowel, lung, bladder and kidney, and breast. Regional campaigns have also been run for ovarian and oesophago-gastric cancers. A campaign was piloted at local level to raise awareness of four key symptoms of cancer and a local skin cancer pilot is running from 16 June to 27 July in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Decisions on further BCOC campaign activity in 2014-15 are being made over the summer, based on the evidence and learning from previous campaigns. We will continue to keep these campaigns under review and work with relevant experts to see what might be done to tackle other cancers.

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