Welcome to BT Buddies

Founded in March 2009 Brain Tumour Buddies is a national charity committed to providing information and support to anyone affected by a high grade brain tumour in the UK.

Our website provides in-depth, accurate and up-to -date information on all aspects of dealing with a brain tumour and has been compiled from a wide range of sources. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us and we will do our best to help.

We also offer support to patients, carers, relatives and friends in a variety of ways including in our forum, via email and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

BT Buddies is able to continue providing information and support thanks to kind donations and generous fundraisers. Funds raised for BT Buddies also go towards funding research into high grade brain tumours.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in fundraising for BT Buddies you can contact us at fundraising@btbuddies.org.uk or call 0845 459 4101. We will also be launching a new section on the BT Buddies website in the next couple of weeks which will include information on how you can raise funds for BT Buddies, resources to help with your fundraising and suggestions for events you can take part in. Watch this space!

Latest news...

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Quote a day for Brain Tumour Awareness Month

  • Friday, 01 March 2013 23:12

Today is the first day of UK Brain Tumour Awareness Month and the start of our 31 days of quotes. We hope these quotes give inspiration and hope to all those battling this disease and their carers, families and friends...

Day 1

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'Did you know?' series, 2013

  • Friday, 01 March 2013 10:11

Each day during UK Brain Tumour Awareness Month we will be sharing brain tumour related facts, statistics and info for you to share with your friends and family - a great and simple way to raise awareness!

Day 1

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Data pooling in biobanks: The BIOPOOL project

  • Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:52

A European consortium of medical, research and higher education institutions is developing a network for banks containing digitalised images of human tissue—"biobanks"— which will help doctors to diagnose different types of possible cancerous tissues taken from patients' biopsies in a shorter time.

The seven partners across four European countries, Spain, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and France are developing the project, known as BIOPOOL, with a budget of €2,500,000 from the European Commission.

"The network will enable clinicians to compare the image of a biopsy for a patient with biopsy images of a large number of other patients across Europe," explained Francesco Moscone, Professor of Business Economics at Brunel University, west London, who is responsible for the business impact of this project.

"The benefits mean that there would be a faster and more accurate diagnosis of diseases, thereby preventing, or reducing, the need for multiple invasive tests."

"Fast and accurate diagnosis will also help in identifying the more appropriate medical treatment, as well as reduce the length of hospital stay."

The existing biobanks are organised collections of biological material and associated health information, for medical-scientific research and diagnostic purposes. In the recent years, biobanks have started digitalising their material, by scanning their samples and storing images and associated information in databases.

But the digital images are usually collected in various different formats, and stored in separated databases and facilities. While image collections carry very valuable knowledge in several fields, their exploitation requires tools to gather, access, visualise, and process large images.

Professor Moscone added: "From the point of view of medical research, the large amount of data shared within BIOPOOL will allow the scientific community to conduct more meaningful clinical trials, especially with respect rare diseases."

"The use of such interconnected sources of data is very promising, as it is expected to reduce diagnosis time and related costs," he said. Roberto Bilbao, Director of the Basque Biobank for Research and coordinator of BIOPOOL project explained that the project involves a significant number of challenges, both technical and non-technical.

It manages very large images, as digitalised bio-images are stored in huge files, even reaching 10-15 GB per image.

The scheme will aggregate data from biobanks until August 2014.

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Notes to Editors:

BIOPOOL will offer services such as on text- and image-based search queries, region-of-interest extraction and automated pathology information extraction for specific types of cancers. It will provide tools for the interconnection of different biobank digital resources, using standard communication protocols. The use of these protocols will allow acquiring, storing and exchanging images and associated data. The project will use storage formats such as OME-XML, OME-TIFF, that are compatible with existing systems. In order to include already existing images, auxiliary modules will be developed to convert images into standard formats.

The challenges include scalability problems and different acquisition protocols for different types of tissues. Furthermore, the comparison between different images of the pool is very complex due to different scales and formats of images, and the biological variability of samples.

The partners involved in the project are: Basque Biobank for Research, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Emedica SL, Cultek SL (Spain), Pertimm SAS (France), Brunel University (United Kingdom), and Erasmus MC (Netherlands).

For further information please visit the website www.biopoolproject.eu

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GPs refer eighty per cent of suspected cancers after two visits

  • Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:30


Doctor and patientMore than 80 per cent of patients suspected of having Cancer are being referred by their GP in the first two consultations, with more than half being sent to see a specialist at the first appointment, according to new research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

A group of researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Durham and Bangor looked at data from over 13,000 patients in order to measure the promptness of cancer diagnosis in primary care. They found that 82 per cent of people were referred after two visits, with over half of patients (58 per cent) referred to a specialist after the first visit.

The study has also revealed that some cancers are proving harder to spot in the first few consultations, such as lung cancer and myeloma. This may be because they often produce symptoms that are common and not unique to cancer, so can be mistaken for less serious conditions.

The findings show that, the more consultations a patient needs, the greater number of weeks between first presentation and referral. With most of the patients who have these harder-to-spot cancers, it takes longer before there is a suspicion of cancer and they are seen by hospital specialists.

Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, study author and National Institute for Health Research post-doctoral research fellow working at the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research, said: “These results show the progress we’re making in spotting cancer at the earliest opportunity. We now understand the typical symptoms of some cancers, like breast and melanoma, very well and that helps doctors to spot them quickly.

“Other cancers have less typical symptoms, making them more difficult to recognise straight away. Not suspecting cancer early enough can be stressful for patients and their relatives so understanding the symptoms of these cancers better is where we need to be making greater research efforts to help spot the disease earlier.”

Last year, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), in partnership with Cancer Research UK, launched a five-year programme to improve early diagnosis of cancer in general practice.

Professor Greg Rubin, the RCGP and Cancer Research UK clinical lead for cancer* and co-author of the research, said: “We’ve found that most patients who go to their GP with cancer symptoms are being promptly referred to a specialist. NICE referral guidelines have helped people with classic symptoms to be seen more quickly but, for patients with less typical symptoms, the decision to refer isn’t always as simple.

“Reducing the number of pre-referral consultations can result in a more timely diagnosis of cancer. We need to consider ways of making the process of primary care assessment even smarter, for instance by wider use of clinical decision support tools or more efficient investigation pathways.”

Sara Hiom, early diagnosis director at Cancer Research UK, said: “These findings are encouraging but there is still room for improvement. Progress is clearly being made but one in five people have to make more than two visits to their GP, although it’s not surprising that this is usually for those cancers that are harder to spot. And we know for some people, difficulty making an appointment can be a barrier to going to the GP in the first place.

“Cancer can be treated more effectively when diagnosed early, so we need to make every effort to support GPs in getting the disease consistently diagnosed more quickly and accurately. But it’s also important that we all act on any persistent health changes that concern us and have the confidence to go back to our GPs if problems don’t clear up after an initial visit.”

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Radiotherapy 'needs to be modernised' in Europe

  • Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:29

There are differences in radiotherapy provisions across European countries, a study has shown

Access to Radiotherapy varies dramatically between countries across Europe, according to a study led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Austria.

With Cancer incidence on the rise in Europe, the findings indicate that some countries have too few radiotherapy machines to ensure all patients receive adequate treatment.

Every year 3.2 million people are diagnosed with cancer in Europe - in the UK alone there were more than 320,000 cases in 2010. Experts suggest that around half of patients diagnosed with cancer could benefit from radiotherapy as part of their treatment.

Using the Directory of Radiotherapy Centres (DIRAC's) records of radiotherapy facilities, the IAEA study highlighted that several western European countries have too few machines to meet the need for radiotherapy treatment.

Based on the number of people they estimated could be treated with each machine, the authors identified what percentage of patients with cancer in each country who would not have access to radiotherapy.

In the UK and Germany, the results showed that 21 per cent of patients are not offered radiotherapy. Austria's figure for unmet need followed at 20 per cent, then Portugal (19 per cent) and Italy (16 per cent).

Nordic countries, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands were found to be more well-equipped to meet treatment demands.

While eastern and southeastern European countries were found to have the greatest need to modernise and expand equipment.

It is hoped that the research, which was based on information from the Directory of Radiotherapy Centres (DIRAC) database, will help countries to meet growing demand for radiotherapy by allowing them to make comparisons with other nations for the first time.

The study also looked at how services were organised across the different countries. Although a majority of 28 out of 33 countries split radiotherapy machines across a range of centres, nations like Britain and Sweden adopted a more centralised approach, with between four and 10 machines at each centre.

The authors said that the "fragmentation" of the services could affect the "economic burden of radiotherapy and its quality".

Though they cautioned that their study did not look at the impact that these different approaches have on cancer outcomes, they said their results warrant further investigation.

Hilary Tovey, senior policy manager at Cancer Research UK, said the research provided a useful snapshot of radiotherapy services across Europe.

She added: "We already know that more capacity is needed in the UK to ensure patients are not missing out. In England alone we need to double the number of linear accelerator radiotherapy machines over the next four years. At over £1million a machine this could cause an enormous headache for the NHS if it is not properly planned for.

"Radiotherapy can help to cure some cancers. All patients should have access to the best radiotherapy for their cancer across the UK. That's why we'll continue to call for this important service to be given the priority it deserves."

The study is published in the Lancet Oncology.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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