What Is the Survival Rate of Brain Cancer?


Quick Answer

Approximately 33.4 percent of people diagnosed with brain and other nervous system cancers are still alive after five years, says National Cancer Institute. Survival statistics compare people in the general population with similar demographic profiles to people diagnosed with cancer, but it cannot predict the outcome of an individual.

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Full Answer

Survival rates of people with cancer are strongly influenced by the stage of the cancer when it's diagnosed, explains National Cancer Institute. Stage 1, or localized, cancer means the cancer is limited to the part of the body where it started. Regional or distant stages refer to cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. People have a better chance of surviving brain and other nervous system cancers after five years when the cancer is detected early. Approximately three-fourths of people with these types of cancers are diagnosed at the local stage, and the survival rate for these patients is 36.6 percent.

Tumors that begin in the brain rarely spread to other parts of the body, although they may spread to the spinal cord and other parts of the brain, notes National Cancer Institute. Brain and spinal cord tumors are treated based on the type of cell in which the tumor began and where it formed. How much cancer is left after surgery and the grade of the tumor also influence treatment options. When cancer spreads to the brain from other parts of the body, treatment is determined by the number of tumors in the brain.

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