This past Saturday was Australian Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day, with a focus on ependymoma.
The Morrison Government launched the now annual awareness day in 2019 with an aim to raise public awareness of the impact of childhood brain cancer on patients, family and carers and to focus on the importance of childhood brain cancer-related research.
Brain tumours are the most common form of solid tumours among children. Brain cancer (or malignant brain tumours) kills more children in Australia than any other disease, says Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project.
“It’s estimated that around 100 children aged 0-14 years are diagnosed with brain cancer each year in Australia,” he said. “And it’s further estimated that 36 children will die from brain cancer in 2020.”
Every year Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day will focus on one strain of the disease, this year the spotlight is on ependymoma, a tumour that arises from tissue of the central nervous system.
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Ependymoma is a devastating disease with no current cures. Ependymomas are more common in children than in adults and are reportedly the third most common brain tumour in children. In paediatric cases the location of ependymomas are more likely to be intracranial, while in adults it is spinal.
In a show of commitment to doubling the 10-year survival rate of childhood brain cancer and improving the quality of life of people living with brain cancer, the Federal Government announced, for Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day in 2019, a commitment to provide $5 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) for childhood brain cancer clinical trials from 2019 – 2024.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt says he is delighted to see Australian charities and other organisations collaborating to make an impact on childhood brain cancer.
“Our government is invested in turning these statistics around and through Cancer Australia, we are empowering organisations such as The Kids’ Cancer Project and Robert Connor Dawes Foundation to collaborate with childhood brain cancer groups, people affected by childhood brain cancer, NGOs and researchers to ensure better outcomes for children.”