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BRAIN TUMOUR AWARENESS WEEK A SUCCESS – CALL FOR ASSISTANCE TO THOSE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 10/29/2007

FOR RELEASE MONDAY 29 OCTOBER 2007
 
BRAIN TUMOUR AWARENESS WEEK A SUCCESS – CALL FOR ASSISTANCE TO THOSE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
 
The inaugural International Brain Tumour Awareness Week, which came to a close last weekend, has been a resounding success, according to its organiser, the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA). (Website: www.theibta.org )
 
“This was the first occasion that an attempt had been made to bring together the patient support, scientific research, commercial, and clinical areas of the brain tumour community worldwide,” according to Mr Denis Strangman (Australia), Chair of the IBTA.
 
“The Awareness Week and its associated Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours has been supported by nearly 100 organisations from 23 countries. The Walk has exceeded all expectations with the target of once around the world at the Equator being accomplished twice over.
 
“We hope that as a result there will be greater attention given to this cancer. 200,000 people worldwide are affected each year by a primary malignant brain tumour, for which the prognosis is very poor.
 
“Sixty percent of these people live in developing countries, many of which do not have the resources to provide an acceptable standard of care which includes – where appropriate -  neurosurgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy,” Mr Strangman said.
 
Professor Abhijit Guha, from Canada, who is a professor of neurosurgery and Chair of the North American-based Society of Neuro Oncology said: “Although malignant brain tumors admittedly are not a large socio-economic burden compared to infectious, respiratory and other illness on a global level, everyone does merit receiving at the very least the current standard of care, including consultation from doctors who are knowledgeable in the multi-faceted treatment of these tumors.”
 
According to the IBTA Chair many brain tumour patients in developing countries do not even have access to the basic medications, particularly those that are relevant to the end stages of their disease, including dexamethasone (for brain swelling), AEDs (anti-epilepsy drugs to manage seizures), and morphine (to control pain).
 
“These medicines appear on the IAHPC (International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care) List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care which was developed last year by an international gathering of experts and which is currently before the World Health Organisation (WHO).
 
“We call on all governments to adopt this list and to work for its speedy endorsement by WHO.
 
“As well, we wish to see a survey undertaken by an official inter-governmental organisation of a representative sample of developing countries to identify existing standards of care for brain tumour patients and the availability of essential medicines used to treat this disease.
 
“While we are determined in our aim of promoting access by all brain tumour patients to the most promising new therapies we recognise that in some countries this is not always possible which is why we call for a wider adoption of the IAHPC List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care which represents one practical way of assisting many brain tumour patients,” Mr Strangman said.
 
ENDS
 
CONTACTS AND INFORMATION
 
Previous media statements:
http://www.theibta.org/uploads/file/MainMediaRelease1.pdf and http://www.theibta.org/uploads/file/Walks241007.pdf Photos and reports of awareness events held may be viewed at: http://www.theibta.org/index.php?page=recent-events and http://www.theibta.org/index.php?page=more-completed-activities
 
Denis Strangman: Chair, International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA), Canberra, Australia. Email – chair@theibta.org Telephone: +61-2-62583912
 
Kathy Oliver: Secretary, IBTA, Surrey, United Kingdom. Email: Kathy@theibta.org Telephone: +44-1737 813872
 
Abhijit Guha: http://www.sickkids.on.ca/Guha/default.asp
 
Brain tumour patient support organisations: There are hyper-links to 49 national and local brain tumour organisations on the right-hand column of the homepage for the IBTA at www.theibta.org These organisations can provide information and comment about local situations.
 
The IAHPC List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care was developed at a meeting held in Salzburg, Austria, during 2006. More information and a copy of the List is available from this webpage: http://www.hospicecare.com/resources/emedicine.htm Contact: Liliana De Lima, IAHPC Executive Director  +1 (713) 880 2940 www.hospicecare.com
 




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