While survival rates for most cancers continue to improve in Australia, brain cancers aren’t seeing the same success.
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Brain cancers are the leading disease-related cause of death in Australian children. And survival rates have changed little in decades. As a paediatric oncologist, the worst conversation I can have with my patients or their parents is to tell them their tumour is incurable.
My hope is that we can replicate for brain cancer what has been achieved for leukaemia. The survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukaemia was once zero but today it’s 85%. To achieve this outcome for brain tumour patients, we will need to adopt a similar strategy as with leukaemia.