BRAIN tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.

From a personal perspective, my own mother died from one a few years ago, aged 81. But did you know that they also kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer?

To be precise, there were 233 deaths from brain cancer in 2021 (132 males, 101 females) in Wales. Despite this, just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

I learnt this shocking fact after a recent meeting with the Brain Tumour Research charity. Charity workers also told me that we must “recognise a uniquely complex disease with a unique response”. For those affected by a brain tumour, this is an emergency.

That is why I decided to hold a short debate this week -Why Wales needs a strategic plan to prioritise brain tumour awareness–to highlight this dreadful disease.

My debate called for the following:

• The Welsh Government should recognise brain tumour research as a critical priority, developing a strategic plan for adequately resourcing and funding discovery, translational and clinical research;

• It must ensure a robust tissue collection and storage infrastructure is in place across the country;

• More is needed to build research capacity encouraging and retaining talent through fellowships and research incentives;

• The regulatory process should be simplified to encourage investment for the longer time periods necessary to develop and deliver new brain tumour drugs;

• Funding bodies should ring-fence specific funding for research into childhood brain tumours where survival rates for the most aggressive tumours have remained unchanged for decades leading to frustrated families seeking costly and unproven treatment abroad.

Following the debate, which saw cross-party support, I will be pushing for a meeting to be held between the Brain Tumour Research charity, Welsh brain tumour campaigners and brain tumour researchers based in Wales to discuss future plans.

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