Deadly illness is difficult to spot

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BRAIN cancer is described as the Cinderella or Forgotten Cancer as it receives less than two per cent of the annual cancer spend in the UK.

This is despite the fact that 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year – 6500 of them with primary brain cancer – and around 3400 people die every year as a result of the disease.

Brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer deaths in children and also cause more deaths in the under-40s than any other type of cancer.

While other cancer survival rates have increased in recent years, those of brain cancer have barely changed over the past three decades. The five-year survival rate remains at just 12 per cent for males and 15 per cent for females.

Surveys have also shown that one in ten brain tumour sufferers see their GP eight times before they are referred to a specialist.

However, brain tumours can be difficult to identify because common symptoms, which include headaches, fits and vomiting, could be indicative of a number of other conditions.

One brain tumour charity, the Samantha Dickson Trust, has called for changes so that patients with persistent symptoms should be given a brain scan to offer “positive reassurance”.