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.
Brain Tumor Screening
Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.
Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve brain tumor outcomes. However, here at MD Anderson, we’re working to develop screening tests for those at risk.
Brain Tumor Risk Factors
Anything that increases your chance of getting a brain tumor is a risk factor. While no definite risk factors have been found for brain tumors, some factors may put you at increased risk, including:
- Radiation exposure
- Family history of certain conditions including:
- Neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Immune system disorders, including AIDS and lymphoma
Research is ongoing into the causes and risk factors of brain tumors. Many possibilities are being studied, including genetics and environmental exposure to certain chemicals
If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.
Brain Tumor Prevention
Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Visit the Prevention section of our website to find out steps you can take to avoid cancer.