Seve Ballesteros looks to beat brain cancer as his charitable foundation comes to the UK

Cancer Research UK

GOLFING icon Seve Ballesteros yesterday (Monday 14th December) joined forces with Cancer Research UK in a bid to beat brain cancer. Seve said he was ‘lucky to be alive and owed it all to important research many people have carried out in the past’.

Seve, the greatest golfer ever on the European Tour, was diagnosed with a brain tumour last October (2008) after collapsing at Madrid Airport. After undergoing four operations, intensive chemotherapy and a six-week course of radiotherapy, Seve is now fighting back.

“I’m thankful that my treatment has been successful so far but that wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t for the amazing research that’s been done into the disease in recent years. Let’s say I have made the cut, in golfing terms, but the tournament is not over yet – I want to do what I can now to help beat this disease.”

The inspirational Spaniard set up the Seve Ballesteros Foundation in Spain earlier this year to help beat brain cancer and has now announced he is taking his quest even further by supporting Cancer Research UK. Seve hopes to raise £1 million for Cancer Research UK in the first year of the partnership to help fund world class research to help beat cancers of the brain. 

The partnership with Cancer Research UK was launched at a star-studded ceremony in London yesterday, hosted by footballing legend Gary Lineker OBE. Guests included Lee Westwood, Tony Jacklin CBE, Bernard Gallacher OBE, Billy Foster, Jonathan Edwards CBE, Jeff Stelling, Gabby and Kenny Logan, Ray Wilkins, Austin Healey MBE and Steve Rider.

Gary Lineker said: “It’s a real pleasure to support Seve in his efforts to beat brain cancer. He’s long been a hero of mine for all he achieved during his career, but his personal battle against this disease and his determination to help others is truly inspirational.”

Latest figures show that each year in the UK around 8,000 people are diagnosed with brain and central nervous system tumours1. Cancer Research UK has made big steps forwards within the field of brain tumours, funding research that led to the development of the drug temozolomide2, which is used worldwide to treat people with the most common type of brain tumour - glioblastoma. Temozolomide has proved to be an effective treatment for people with this type of brain tumour who would otherwise have very limited treatment options. Many thousands of people, including Seve, have continued to benefit from treatment with this drug.

However, survival rates for malignant brain tumours are still low, with around one in ten adults surviving for more than ten years. Continued research is vital to improving the lives of people diagnosed with brain tumours, and Seve's experience has made him determined to ensure that this challenge is met.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "We’re delighted to be working with the Seve Ballesteros Foundation and I can’t thank Seve enough for his commitment to helping us beat this disease.

“As well as affecting adults, brain cancer is one of the most common childhood cancers. It’s also one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat successfully. The best way to ensure more people survive for longer is through research, which is why Cancer Research UK has committed to improving our understanding of this disease.

“The money raised by Cancer Research UK with the Foundation’s support will fund ambitious and vital research that will help improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours in the future.”

“As well as affecting adults, brain cancer is one of the most common childhood cancers. It’s also one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully. The best way to ensure more people survive for longer is through research, which is why Cancer Research UK has committed to improving our understanding of this disease.
“The money raised by Cancer Research UK with the Foundation’s support will fund ambitious and vital research that will help improve diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours in the future.”

For more information about Seve’s fight against cancer and how to support Cancer Research UK visit www.seveballesterosfoundation.org.

Notes to Editor

About brain tumours

Statistics for “brain tumours” can be difficult to interpret because tumours refer to both malignant and non-malignant tumours, and include tumours of the central nervous system (CNS).

More than 4,500 people are diagnosed with malignant brain tumours each year in the UK, and around 3,500 people are diagnosed with non-malignant brain and CNS tumours.

Malignant brain tumours account for two per cent of all malignant cancers diagnosed (excluding non melanoma skin cancer) in the UK
Every year around 3,500 die from malignant brain and CNS tumours.

Temozolomide

Temozolomide is also known by its brand names Temodar and Temodal.

Glioblastoma multiforme, one of the gliomas, is the most common and aggressive type of brain tumour.
The standard of care for glioblastoma includes chemotherapy during and after radiotherapy. The use of temozolomide both during radiotherapy and for six months post radiotherapy is now the gold standard treatment for most cases of the disease. Temozolomide works by killing cancer cells and sensitising them to the effects of radiation.

Temozolomide comes as a capsule that can be swallowed, which means patients don’t have to attend lots of hospital appointments.

About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.
  • The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last thirty years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of more than 4,800 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit our website.