Brain tumour research: Funding flows

Brain tumours are devastating—yet the spend on research into brain tumours is relatively low, at less than 1% of the 10-year cumulative national cancer research spending in the UK. NPC recently carried out research for Brain Tumour Research to explore the amount of funding that different cancers receive. The findings are presented in this report.

Our analysis reveals low levels of funding for research into brain tumours. Although brain tumours appear to be relatively rare on basic incidence data, there are issues around classification, and brain tumours have particularly low survival rates.

Key findings

  • People with brain tumours have an incredibly low survival rate, with just 18.8% of those diagnosed between 2006 and 2010 alive in 2011.
  • More average years of life are lost to brain tumours than any other cancer. On average a person diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour dies 20.1 years earlier than they should; the average for all cancers is 12.5 years earlier.
  • In the past ten years, there has been a 16% increase in deaths from brain tumours.
  • Just 3.2% of site-specific research funding went to researching brain tumours in 2011. For comparison, breast cancer received 18.8% of site-specific research funding in 2011; Leukaemia 14.7%.
  • In 2010 the incidence of brain tumours was 13.27 per 100,000 in England, compared to 124.49 per 100,000 for breast cancer. But incidence data is selective and excludes secondary brain tumours and some categories of tumour that appear benign.

Although relatively rare, brain tumours are devastating—if we look at mortality rates, brain tumours are the most dangerous form of cancer to develop. Brain Tumour Research plans to use NPC’s research to call for more funding to develop treatments for this complex disease.

I welcome this new report, produced by New Philanthropy Capital, bringing us up to date on the funding flows for cancer research

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister