Brain Cancer

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideUnderstanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, Pictures

Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, Pictures

What is the prognosis of treated brain cancer?

Survival of treated brain cancer varies with the cancer type (low-grade versus aggressive and/or inoperable, for example), location, overall age, and general health of the patient. In general, most treatment plans seldom result in a cure. Reports of survival rate or life expectancy greater that five years (which is considered to be long-term survival) vary from less than 10% to a high of 32%, no matter what treatment plan is used; recovery (cure) from brain cancer is possible, but realistically, complete recovery does not occur often. However, about 75% of children will survive pediatric brain cancer longer than five years; often because of chronic diseases, the elderly have poorer outcomes except with the lowest grade tumors.

So, why use any treatment plan? Without treatment, brain cancers are usually aggressive and result in death within a short time span. Treatment plans can prolong survival and can improve the patient's quality of life for some time. Again, the patient and caregivers should discuss the prognosis when deciding on treatment plans.

In general, life expectancy in patients with brain cancer is usually described as a survival rate five years after diagnosis. The survival rate is expressed as a percentage of people still alive five years after the diagnosis and/or treatment. The survival rates vary with the type and grade of brain cancer and the age of the patient. For example, glioblastomas in patients aged 20-44 have a five-year survival rate of 17% and only a 4% rate in patients aged 55-64. In contrast, patients with a meningioma (a benign brain tumor) in the same age groups have survival rates of 92% and 67%, respectively. These survival rates change as advancements in treatment plans improve; the patient and his/her doctors should discuss these rates as they are only estimates, and each person is different. Survival with no reoccurrence of the disease after five years is considered a cure by some; however, close follow-up with doctors is usually recommended to quickly evaluate any possible recurrence of the cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Cancer Report Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Brain Cancer - Symptoms

    What symptoms and signs did you experience with your brain cancer?

    Post View 10 Comments
  • Brain Cancer - Experience

    Please describe your experience with brain cancer.

    Post View 8 Comments
  • Brain Cancer - Prognosis

    What is your brain cancer prognosis?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Brain Cancer - Treatment

    What treatment(s) have you undergone for brain cancer?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors