In the United States, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 22,020 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2010. The National Cancer Institute adds that in 2010, 13,140 people will die because of a brain tumor. But every year, there are patients that survive: the American Brain Tumor Association notes that 37 percent of women and 34 percent of men with a brain tumor survived between 1995 to 2006. There are several factors that affect the brain tumor survival statistics. The first is the severity of the brain tumor. A patient with a more aggressive type of brain tumor may have a poorer outcome than a patient who has a less aggressive brain tumor that was discovered early. Treatment also has an impact on a patient’s survival, such as the type of treatment and whether the tumor has been fully removed. Here are the brain tumor survival rates for four different types of brain tumors: meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, ependymomas and glioblastoma multiforme.
With a meningioma, the tumor occurs in the meninges, which are the membranes that cover both the brain and spinal cord. As a result, patients can have a tumor intracranially or in the spinal cord. Three grades of meningiomas exist using the World Health Organization grading system: Grade I, Grade II and Grade III. With a Grade I meningioma, the tumor is slow growing and the physician may monitor the tumor with MRI scans if it is not causing symptoms. Grade II meningiomas are atypical meningiomas and are treated with surgery, with a possibility of radiation afterward for some patients. The last type of meningioma, a Grade III, is the most aggressive type and requires surgery, followed by radiation with the possibility of chemotherapy if the tumor recurs. The Mayfield Clinic notes that less than 1 percent of meningiomas are Grade III meningiomas. The 5-year survival rate for a meningioma ranges from 73 to 94 percent, according to eMedicine Neurology. For some patients, the brain tumor is not discovered until they have a CT or MRI done for another condition.
Craniopharyngioma tumors usually occur above the pituitary gland and accounts for 2 to 3 percent of primary brain tumors, meaning it originated in the brain, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. While this type of brain tumor does not spread to other parts of the brain, it can result in increased intracranial pressure when it blocks the foramen of Monro. Patients can experience impaired vision, obesity, a swollen optic nerve or delayed development. Treatment options include surgery and radiation. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital notes that when craniopharyngioma patients have the tumor fully removed through surgery or have partial removal with surgery and receive radiation, their survival range ranges between 80 and 90 percent.
Continuation of Brain Tumor Survival Statistics: Ependymomas
About 200 cases of ependymomas are diagnosed each year in people under the age of 25, according to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation. This type of brain tumor occurs in the cells that line the ventricles, which are the areas of the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid. An ependymoma can block the cerebrospinal fluid, which can lead to a condition called hydrocephalus, in which the patient has increase pressure in her brain. Ependymoma patients may have an enlarged head size, problems walking or problems feeding. Other symptoms include irritability, and headaches, vomiting and nausea when they wake up. The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation notes that if the tumor is fully removed surgically, the 5-year survival rate ranges from 67 to 80 percent, and if the tumor is only partially removed, the 5-year survival rate ranges from 22 to 47 percent.
Glioblastoma multiforme is a Grade IV glioma, making it the most aggressive type of glioma. This type of brain tumor can occur without an identifiable cause, though it does occur more frequently where there is a family history of tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer. Patients can experience headaches, seizures, weakness and changes in behavior. The Children’s Hospital Boston notes that the prognosis for a glioblastoma multiforme is poor: the 5-year survival rate is close to 25 percent for patients who have had the tumor almost entirely removed and received adjuvant radiation therapy; however, for most patients who do not get the tumor fully removed, the 5-year survival rate is less than 5 percent.
National Cancer Institute: Brain Tumor Home Page (https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/brain)
American Brain Tumor Association: Facts & Statistics, 2010 (https://www.abta.org/sitefiles/pdflibrary/ABTA-FactsandStatistics2010v3.pdf)
eMedicine Neurology: Meningioma (https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1156552-overview)
Mayfield Clinic: Meningiomas (https://www.mayfieldclinic.com/pe-meni.htm)
Children’s Hospital Boston: Glioblastoma Multiforme (https://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site962/mainpageS962P0.html)
The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation: Ependymomas (https://www.childhoodbraintumor.org/index.php/brain-tumor-types-and-imaging/98-ependymomas.html)
Children’s Hospital Boston: Ependymoma (https://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site841/mainpageS841P0.html)
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Craniopharyngioma (https://www.stjude.org/stjude/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4f1b061585f70110VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD&vgnextchannel=bc4fbfe82e118010VgnVCM1000000e2015acRCRD)