• Brain tumours are the most common cause of cancer deaths in children under 15.
• Approximately 10 children and young people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each week.
• 1500 children are diagnosed annually with cancer and a third of these will have a Central Nervous System (CNS) tumour. 95-98% of these will be brain tumours.
• 62% of children who survive a brain tumour are left with a life-altering, long-term disability.
• Children treated for brain tumours have the greatest need for rehabilitation of all children treated for cancer.
Psychological support for both the child who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and their family is crucial and it is required from the point of diagnosis. Whether from the surgery and/or treatment the consequences can have a major impact on a child and family’s life including their self esteem, participation in daily life, relationship with peers and difficulties at school.
Our Paediatric Oncology Clinical Psychologists are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team and are able to offer support at all stages of a child’s journey. They are trained in child development and learning. They specialise in a range of therapeutic approaches to meet the needs of both the child and their family. For a family who have lost a child, a Clinical Psychologist can offer bereavement follow up for both the parents and siblings.
After treatment Children can be left with cognitive difficulties; sometimes these can be subtle and so missed in school, other times they can be marked and seriously impact on life. Physical, emotional and cognitive rehabilitation is so important and a specialised team is often required to undertake this. As a member of this team, our Clinical Psychologists can uniquely offer neuropsychological testing to help both a school and parent understand their child’s difficulties in thinking, remembering and processing. They can work with schools to ensure that the environment is suitable and the child is supported to enable he/she to reach their full potential and promote normal developmental progression.
“All children with a brain tumour should be offered neuropsychological testing upon diagnosis and follow up by a clinical psychologist.”
Dr Angela Kirby – Clinical Psychologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge