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'Brain tumour research needs funding'

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 October 2010

A young doctor who is battling a brain tumour has taken her fight for better funding to the Houses of Parliament.

Josie Phillips and her husband Roger, from Norwich, helped to launch a manifesto developed by the UK’s brain tumour charities and which calls on the government to significantly increase investment in brain tumour research.

The 27-year-old, of Newmarket Street, raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities earlier this year by sailing 2,000 miles around the British Isles.

Mrs Phillips, who met the all-party parliamentary group on brain tumours at the House of Commons for the launch of the manifesto, said: “We’ve raised £17,000, which is brilliant, but that alone is not going to change how brain tumour research is funded.

“I can see how research helps in other areas of medicine and how money ploughed into research can make a huge difference. The work done in breast cancer research means survival rates are much, much better.

“Having a medical background I know you can’t come up with a miracle cure and that it takes scientists years and years and it needs to be a long-term programme of funding.”

As well as improving the poor survival rates for people with brain tumours – only 12pc of men and 15pc of women survive beyond five years – more research could also help speed up diagnoses of the disease.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of UK children. It is thought 16,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour annually and every year there is a 4pc rise in incidence.

With more than 120 different types of tumour, brain tumours are notoriously difficult to diagnose and it took five years for doctors to diagnose Mrs Phillips.

The couple said they were particularly keen to get involved in raising awareness of how much more research needs to be done into brain tumours, because the poor rates of survival means there are few survivors of the disease to publicise the need for funding.

Mrs Phillips found out last year that her tumour had become malignant and since then she has vowed to enjoy life and not let the disease stop her from achieving some of her dreams.

She said: “Most people with brain tumours aren’t in a position to speak out about it and call for change as they are already fighting for their own life.

“Research into brain tumours is lagging so far behind other cancer and we need people to become aware of this.”

More information, and the manifesto, is available at www.braintumourresearch.org.

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Contact health reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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