An estimated 700,000 Americans are living with a tumor
An estimated 86,970 people will receive a primary brain tumor diagnosis in 2019
The average survival rate for all malignant brain tumor patients is only 35%
An estimated 16,830 people will die from malignant brain tumors (brain cancer) in 2019
Brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors are the most prevalent form of pediatric cancer in kids under 19
Pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death among children and adolescents ages 0-19, surpassing leukemia.
More than any other cancer, brain tumors can have lasting and life-altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patient’s life.
Even benign brain tumors can be deadly if they interfere with portions of the brain responsible for vital bodily functions.
There are more than 130 different types of brain tumors, many with their own multitude of subtypes.
Despite the amount of brain tumors, and their devastating prognosis, there have only been four (4) FDA approved drugs – and one device – to treat brain tumors in the past 30 years.
Between 1998 and 2014, there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs that entered the clinical trial evaluation process. 75 failed. That is a 25:1 failure ratio in developing new brain tumor treatments over the past two decades.
Brain tumors have the highest per-patient initial cost of care for any cancer group, with an annualized mean net costs of care in 2010 US dollars at well over $100,000.
Doctors group brain tumors by grade. The grade of a tumor refers to the way the cells look under a microscope:
Cells from low-grade tumors (grades I and II) look more normal and generally grow more slowly than cells from high-grade tumors (grades III and IV).
Over time, a low-grade tumor may become a high-grade tumor. However, the change to a high-grade tumor happens more often among adults than children.
The median age at diagnosis for all primary brain tumors is 60 years
The cause of brain cancer is usually unknown. Most people diagnosed with a primary brain tumor do not have any known risk factors. However, certain risk factors and genetic conditions have been shown to increase a person’s chances of developing one, including:
The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the tumor is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with a cancerous brain or CNS tumor is approximately 34% for men and 36% for women. However, survival rates vary widely and depend on several factors, including the type of brain or spinal cord tumor.
Overall, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord in his or her lifetime is less than 1%.
On May 9, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an official reclassification of Tumor Types of the Central Nervous System, which has moved the greater neuro-oncology field toward a more precise and accurate system of brain tumor classification. Based on information from expert neuropathologists and neuro-oncologists, the result of the updated WHO classifications, which integrate molecular information with histology, is that doctors will be better able to more accurately diagnose, make prognoses, plan treatment, and predict therapeutic response for patients. A more precise diagnosis and treatment plan is a win for patients.
The most prevalent brain tumor types in adults:
The most prevalent brain tumor types in children (0-14):
Glioblastoma multiforme—also known as GBM—is the most lethal form of brain cancer in adults. This devastating brain cancer spreads into other parts of the brain very quickly and is usually not surgically curable. Typically, radiation and chemotherapy are given with the hopes of delaying tumor progression.
Medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor—also called cerebellar primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)—that starts in the region of the brain at the base of the skull, called the posterior fossa. These tumors tend to spread to other parts of the brain and to the spinal cord.
Survival rates in children with medulloblastoma depend on the patient’s age and how much the tumor spreads.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are the most common brainstem tumors in children, representing approximately 75-80% of all pediatric brainstem tumors. The tumor is found in a part of the brainstem called the pons. The pons is responsible for a number of important bodily functions, like breathing, sleeping, bladder control, and balance. Because these functions are vital to survival, the pressure from the growing tumor is very dangerous.
A primary brain tumor originates in the central nervous system, while metastatic brain tumors spread to the brain from other parts of the body. Meningiomas account for about 27 percent of primary brain tumors, making them the most common of that type.
A meningioma develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas (90 percent) are categorized as benign tumors, with the remaining 10 percent being atypical or malignant. However, the word benign can be misleading in this case, as when benign tumors grow and constrict and affect the brain, they can cause disability and even be life threatening.
The symptoms of a brain tumor depend on tumor size, type, and location. Symptoms may be caused when a tumor presses on a nerve or harms a part of the brain. Also, they may be caused when a tumor blocks the fluid that flows through and around the brain, or when the brain swells because of the buildup of fluid. These are the most common symptoms of brain tumors:
Most often, these symptoms are not due to a brain tumor.