Nearly 500 children and young people in the UK each year are diagnosed with a brain tumor and unfortunately the time frame in which it takes to properly diagnose a brain tumor far exceeds the time in most other countries.
For this, and many other reasons, The Brain Tumor Charity has spearheaded Headsmart – an initiative that aims to not only show symptoms and signs to look for in children of brain tumors, but to reduce the time it takes to be diagnosed with one. This not only helps the quality of life of the patient, but also the chance of survival.
On their webpage, The Brain Tumor Charity describes not only why Headsmart is important, but the impact it’s already made in the battle to end brain tumors once and for all, and in the mean time, make life easier for those affected.
“HeadSmart is raising national awareness of the common signs and symptoms of a brain tumour in children and young people by equipping parents, the public and healthcare professionals with information they need. This is achieved through the distribution of symptom cards and posters to raise awareness of symptoms, and the promotion of a clinical guideline and training module for health professionals.”
Before the launch of HeadSmart, average diagnosis times for children with brain tumours in the UK was 13 weeks. After publication of the guidelines for healthcare professionals in 2011, this was reduced to 9.1 weeks. Following the public launch this was reduced to 7.5 weeks in 2012, 6.9 weeks in 2013, and most recently 6.7 weeks. We want to reduce diagnosis times to under 5 weeks to be on a par with, or better than, the rest of the world.
The change in statistics is massive, and it’s clear that with early symptom education and the spread of this information, these changes will continue grow over the next few years. It’s entirely possible that in our lifetime we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, when it comes to brain tumors – especially in our children.
Headsmart wouldn’t be possible without partners and volunteers – people with hearts that want to make a difference. Some of Headsmart’s partners include The University of Nottingham, The College of Emergency Medicine, and The Royal College of GPs.
When it comes to volunteers; the opportunities lie in the hands of all of us. It’s as simple as emailing The Brain Tumor Charity and asking for Headsmart Resources that can be distributed in schools, GP offices, and around your area.
If something as simple as an e-mail and a card have the ability to change the life of a child, we should all volunteer to be part of the change. If you want to find other ways to support not only Headsmart but The Brain Tumor Charity please check out their website. The changes they’re making are laying the groundwork for a brighter life by anyone who is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the people that love them.