East: New Centre Opens To Help Children With Brain Tumours

10 September 2013, 15:43 | Updated: 10 September 2013, 15:56

The UK's first centre to help children with brain tumours and their families has been launched today in Cambridge.

Addenbrooke’s hospital has teamed up with three charities to provide a new rehabilitation service for children in the East of England. It's been called ‘Brainbow’ and it will be the first service in the country available on the NHS when it goes live in a few weeks' time.

Brainbow is the result of a close collaboration between Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) and Anna’s Hope, Camille’s Appeal and Tom’s Trust, all of whom have personal experience of having children with brain tumours. 

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK and for those who survive their lives can be severely limited. Children treated for brain tumours have the greatest need for rehabilitation of all children treated for cancer. Currently 200 children in the region are being managed for brain tumours.

The new service will provide a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, alongside standard clinical care for children with brain tumours - something that was not possible before. A coordinated, specialist neuro-rehabilitation assessment will include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and clinical psychology.

The service has received funding for three years initially. It will provide valuable evidence to support further work on the impact of neuro-rehabilitation on outcomes for children, an area of provision that is still in its infancy.

Brainbow will be based at Addenbrooke’s, which is the regional centre for the treatment of children with brain and spinal cancers. It will support children under 16 already being treated for brain tumours at Addenbrooke’s and those who will be newly-diagnosed from October 2013.

A young patient chose the name in a competition which took place on one of the hospital’s specialist cancer wards for children.

Dr Amos Burke, consultant paediatric oncologist at Addenbrooke’s, said: “By launching Brainbow we will be able to provide a more standardised and holistic care package to children with brain tumours in the region.

"We are very grateful for the support from these three charities and we hope we can develop the service further in the future.”