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North Wales MS backs cross-party letter calling for National Brain Tumour Strategy

A NORTH Wales MS has backed cross-party letter calling for National Brain Tumour Strategy.

Llŷr Gruffydd has joined with politicians from across the political spectrum to call on Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care in urging her to “listen and work with the brain tumour community”.

The Plaid Cymru Senedd member says people who have a brain tumour have been “left behind for too long” and that this “has to change”.

The letter sent by Mr Gruffydd to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care has been signed by fellow MSs Peredur Owen Griffiths, Heledd Fychan, Mark Isherwood, Joel James and Mike Hedges.

The letter is part of a campaign by The Brain Tumour Charity, which has warned that for years people who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour have been “falling through the cracks”.

Its open letter addressed to all four UK Health Ministers obtained over 52,000 signatures.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

The Brain Tumour Charity says that there are gaps in the health service and that these can only be addressed through systematic change and developing a comprehensive National Brain Tumour Strategy.

According to the charity, brain tumours often fall into the ‘too difficult’ pile due to the nature of the disease.

There are more than 120 different types of brain and central nervous system tumours. These can be high grade, or low grade (non-malignant), and as a result the disease does not sit neatly in the cancer nor the rare disease world.

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The charity also says that brain cancers are often missed by NHS cancer programmes because of the differences in how they start, develop and are tracked, compared to other cancers.

People who have brain tumour can face a number of complex issues. These include multiple misdiagnoses and trips to GPs, having to undergo harsh treatments, as well as not having access to the support from an allocated Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

The letter sent by Mr Gruffydd, of Plaid Cymru, follows a meeting he had recently with representatives from The Brain Tumour Charity at Tŷ Hywel to show his support for Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Llŷr Gruffydd MS said: “It is vital that the Welsh Government, as well as governments across the UK, make sure that people who have brain tumours receive the care they need – from a speedy diagnosis, to having access to the most modern treatment options.

“Brain tumours are a complex disease but those affected have been left behind for too long. This has to change. There now needs to be a decisive strategy which will lead to the systemic change that is required to tackle this devastating disease. 

“For me it was a ‘no brainer’ to have signed the letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and I now urge her to listen and work with the brain tumour community in the creation of an effective strategy.”

Cameron Miller, Director of External Affairs & Strategy at The Brain Tumour Charity said: “It is inspiring to see the level of support we have received across the political spectrum for the call for a National Brain Tumour Strategy. We thank every politician for joining the brain tumour community in this call and on the journey to improving brain tumour care for all.

“We all want to see a step change in the way brain tumours are tackled so that they are no longer placed on the ‘too difficult’ pile because of their complexity. A Strategy would address the challenges people currently face across the whole patient pathway.”

The strategy would require all nations of the UK to work together to tackle problems affecting diagnosis, care, treatment and research with separate implementation plans then being developed within each nation.

The Brain Tumour Charity, which is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, funds pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options.

It also works to raise awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis. 

The Charity also provides support for people who have affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life.

To find out more, visit: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/get-involved/campaigning-for-change/what-were-campaigning/national-brain-tumour-strategy-its-a-no-brainer/