MSPs from across the political spectrum joined forces last night (Wed) in the fight against childhood brain tumours.
South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine and Cabinet secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil were among those who pledged their support for the HeadSmart campaign, which aims to cut the time between first symptoms and diagnosis of brain tumours in children.
Since it was launched in 2011, the campaign – run by The Brain Tumour Charity – has reduced the average diagnosis time from 9.1 weeks to 6.9 weeks.
HeadSmart aims ultimately to distribute pocket-sized information cards listing brain tumour symptoms to every household with children in Scotland,
Speaking after the parliamentary reception attended by MSPs, clinicians and families affected by brain tumours, Ms McAlpine praised the ‘impressive’ work of HeadSmart in raising awareness of brain tumours in children and young people.
“I know that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.
“The Scottish Government is committed to raising awareness of cancer and to reducing the time it takes to diagnose children and young people.
“We fully recognise the important contribution of the HeadSmart campaign to this aim.”
The reception was sponsored by MSP Cameron Buchanan, who was himself diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010.
Mr Buchanan has tabled a Parliamentary motion congratulating The Brain Tumour Charity for the HeadSmart campaign, its work in Scotland and its achievements as the largest dedicated funder of brain tumour research in Europe.
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said:
“HeadSmart has already achieved an enormous amount by bringing down average diagnosis time from 9.1 weeks to 6.9.
“The support of MSPs from across the political spectrum will help us to drive forward the campaign in Scotland and reduce that figure even further, saving lives and reducing life-long disabilities among children with brain tumours.”