patients talking to doctors

White British people more likely to die within a year from brain tumours

The study was carried out by the Centre for Cancer, Society and Public Health at King’s College London and found that people from other ethnic backgrounds are thirty per-cent more likely to survive 12 months than white British brain tumour patients.

Hiba Wanis from King’s College London analysed data from nearly 25,000 patients in England diagnosed with a malignant primary brain tumour between 2012 and 2017. Th study calculated risk of death for different ethnic backgrounds including white British, other white backgrounds such as white Irish, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, black African and black Caribbean, one year after their initial diagnosis.

Whilst the research shows that white British tumour patients have a lower survival rate, three ethnicities: Indian, other white and unknown had decreased risk of death with a 16% decreased for Indian, 17% for other white and 19% for unknown.

The correlation between ethnicity and survival rates has been made apparent through the study however researchers believe there are other factors that could play a part in this.

Hiba Wanis, King’s College London said: “It is probably too early to speculate on what may lie behind these differences, but a number of factors may be involved. These include how early people ask their doctors about symptoms, how early in the disease a diagnosis is made, better reporting, lifestyle and cultural factors, deprivation, tumour characteristics and behaviour, and treatment options.”

Michael Jenkinson, the chair of the NCRI Brain Group and professor of neurosurgery and surgical trials at the University of Liverpool, who was not involved with the research, said: “This new study is not only the first to investigate the impact of ethnicity on brain tumour survival but also the first to consider the different types of brain tumours across patients in England.

“As the quantity and quality of data has significantly improved in recent years, the researchers have been able to carry out a detailed analysis, and the results help to fill in the gaps in what is currently an under-researched area of cancer.

“However, further research is needed to consider other factors that may play a role in these differences, such as a patient’s lifestyle and how early they received their diagnosis. Once explored further, the findings could be vital for doctors to provide appropriate information to patients on their prognosis.”


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