There's a glimmer of hope around brain cancer after the release of new statistics showing a slight downward trend in incidence and mortality rates for CNS tumours, in both men and women.
Survival has shown very small gains over the past 30 years with differing survival between types of cancers and age groups as a result of the types of tumours common at different ages.
The Victorian Cancer Registry says the reasons for this include better diagnostic techniques leading to improved diagnostic classification. This includes some tumours being determined not to be malignant and therefore not counted in these figures.
The Registry analysed the latest statistics for Brain Cancer Action Week which culminates in a free forum in Melbourne for brain cancer patients, their carers and families on Friday. The forum will focus on survivors including one woman who has lived with High Grade brain cancer for 8 years.
The forum will also focus on the latest in personalised brain tumour treatment and on the journey of carers. It provides an opportunity for those with a brain cancer experience to meet others and hear practical strategies to better manage the cognitive effects of brain cancers. To register and find out more, visit cancervic.org.au/braintumourforum.
One Australian every 6 hours is diagnosed with brain cancer. It takes about 1100 lives nationally every year and is the leading cancer killer for young people under the age of 39 and children under 15.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said while great improvements had been made in the survival rates of the more common cancers in recent years, brain cancer had been largely left behind.
"Today two-in-three Victorians will survive cancer five years after diagnosis. If we are to lift overall cancer survival rates, investment in dedicated research into high mortality cancers, like brain cancer, needs to happen. We need to develop better drugs, whilst developing strategies to deliver the right drug to the right patient." he said.
In 2014 there were 448 malignant brain tumours diagnosed in Victorians (male 246, female 202) and 346 deaths (181 male and 165 female).