Brain tumours don’t always happen to other people.  They could happen to you, or to someone you love.  Read all about International Brain Tumour Awareness Week – and get your trainers on for Walk Around the World!

Saturday 26th October through to Sunday 2nd November is the 13th International Brain Tumour Awareness Week.  All around the world (in over 100 countries, in fact), people will be encouraged to help increase awareness of brain tumours, learn more about the disease and support much-needed fund-raising efforts.

In the UK, 9,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours every year.

Not enough is known about these life-threatening conditions, so this important awareness week aims to highlight the need for more research and encourage communities to work together for better prevention and even fail-safe cures, if possible.

The devastation of a brain tumour cannot be underestimated.  Most people do not survive, with the time from diagnosis to death being a mere 12-18 months. We need to know more.

Therefore, The International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA), the leaders of the campaign, have big ambitions to help shape health and research policies, too – at national and international levels.  We support them whole heartedly.

Who Are the International Brain Tumour Alliance?

The IBTA is a voluntary organisation based in the UK, with a network of specialist advisors in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  They have no paid employees, instead relying on pro bono services from lawyers, editors and accountants, so we think they’re pretty special.

Why?  Because such is their determination to support people with brain tumours, that these highly qualified people give their time and expertise to this valuable charity at very low cost, even for free.

You can read more about the IBTA here:

Your Guide…to Brain Tumours

Unless brain tumours have touched your life, or that of a member of your family or someone you work with, you may not have given them a second thought.

Simply put, a brain tumour is a collection of abnormal cells in the brain.  Given that your skull is a rigid structure, any growth inside it is going to cause problems, and with pressure inside your skull, sadly, the brain damage is going to be life-threatening.

There are primary tumours (those that originate in your brain) and secondary ones (when cancer cells spread to your brain from another organ, such as your breast or lung).  Oddly, primary tumours, despite their implication, can be benign, but none are good news.  Unfortunately, most brain cancers are the secondary type.

With us so far?  OK.

Risk Factors

Brain tumours are more common in people over 40, with risk factors potentially including (we’re not 100% sure – hence the need for research) exposure to chemicals and radiation. Someone with HIV or AIDS is twice as likely to be diagnosed.  And, if you missed out on chicken pox as a child, you’re more at risk.

With regret, survival rates aren’t good.

Around 15 out of every 100 people with a cancerous brain tumour will survive for 5 years or more after being diagnosed.

We knew you were wondering, so:

First symptoms include a headache that keeps coming back, blurred vision, speech problems, behavioural changes, being sick quite a lot and drowsiness.  Time to see your GP toute suite.  But don’t worry.  Brain cancers are rare.

Right, Let’s Get a Bit More Positive

The IBTA organise a wonderful international awareness-raising event called “Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours”.  It takes place between 1st January and 31st December (so basically, all year) and all you need to do is undertake a sponsored walk to raise awareness of the work they do and to raise money.

The IBTA have a target: 24,901 miles, which is the length of the Equator.  Neat, huh?

How far can you walk during the course of one year? Imagine how pleased you’ll be if you sally forth every Sunday morning with a purpose in mind.  And, you’ll be fitter and healthier, too – with Sunday lunch to look forward to.

If you’re caring for someone with a brain tumour, we’re thinking of you.  As ever, we’re here for you if you need us, with support, guidance and advice.  If you’re newly diagnosed – have courage.  With amazing charities like the IBTA, there is hope.  There’s always hope.

So far so, well, medical.  But the human cost is what takes your breath away and people can die frighteningly fast if diagnosed with a fast-growing tumour.