MP raises dad’s plight in debate

Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date published: 22 April 2016

OLDHAM East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams cited an Oldham man’s plight in a Commons speech calling for more brain tumour research.

The Labour MP appealed for more funding during the House of Commons debate as she used the Oldham man's example to illustrate the issue.

Brain tumours, including central nervous system and intra cranial tumours, account for 40 per cent of all cancer deaths in children and are the leading cause of male deaths for 20-29 year-olds and the biggest cancer killer for under 40-year-olds.

In spite of these statistics research into brain tumours accounted for only 1.5 per cent of all cancer research funding or £7.7m out of £498m in 2014, according to the Brain Tumour Charity’s research.

Mrs Abrahams told her fellow MPs: “It is clear that in addition to raising awareness about brain tumours more research into preventing and treating brain tumours needs to be undertaken. Behind all the data there are people, their families and friends.

“I was contacted by one of my constituents who was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year. He wants to remain anonymous because he has a young family and his condition has had quite an impact on everyone around him.

“He told me, he has gone from a fit healthy individual to one who struggles to do many of the everyday things a dad wants to be able to do with their children. He was diagnosed last year, at the age of 40, with a Grade 2 Oligodendroglioma.

“After an 11 hour craniotomy at Salford Royal, during which he was awake, he has spent much of the last nine months fighting infection and undergoing extensive physiotherapy to help him to learn to walk again and to enable him to live a relatively normal life.

“He starts a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at The Christie this week to try to control the regrowth of this tumour. Unfortunately the nature of these things means that it is almost certainly already regrowing.

“And yet he says he is one of the lucky ones with hopefully, as he says, ‘a decent number of years ahead of him’, but nothing is guaranteed and he may well require further surgery in the future.

“He told me ‘Access To Work’ has been invaluable enabling him to stay in work.

“But as we know Access to Work is only available for a tiny proportion of disabled people in a similar position. He wanted me to speak on his behalf and the many thousands of people with brain tumours, many younger, and many far less fortunate than he.”

At the conclusion of the debate the Minister responded that he would be setting up a group to review issues raised in the debate including increasing funding for research, extending clinical guidance for GPs, and increasing access to diagnostics.

Since the debate, the constituent has thanked Mrs Abrahams for raising his experiences in the debate and hopes that Parliament’s focus on the issue will lead to a future where fewer lives are damaged or destroyed by this disease.

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