Each year, nearly 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with primary brain tumors, the majority of which are malignant, and almost 13,000 people die from the disease. Sadly, most patients with malignant primary brain tumors (gliomas) live no more than one to two years after diagnosis. Typical treatments, while somewhat effective, still have much progress to make, especially considering the neurological side effects patients must often deal with while undergoing treatment.
Brain Tumor Facts:
- Brain cancer can arise from many different types of brain cells (primary brain cancer) or occur when cancer cells from another part of the body spread (metastasize) to the brain.
- Symptoms of brain cancer vary but often include weakness, difficulty walking, seizures and headaches. Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, blurry vision or a change in a person’s alertness, mental capacity, memory, speech or personality.
- Metastatic brain tumors are the most common brain tumor. Although statistics for brain metastases are not readily available, it is estimated that there are more metastatic than primary malignant brain tumors per year.
- Brain tumors are the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (both males and females) under age 20 after leukemia.
- Brain tumors are the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 (after leukemia) and the fifth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39.
- The majority of primary tumors (34 percent) are located within the meninges, the membranes that envelop the central nervous system, followed by those located within the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes of the brain (22 percent).
- Gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the supportive (or “gluey”) tissue of the brain, represent 30 percent of all brain tumors and 80 percent of all malignant tumors.
- Glioblastomas represent 17 percent of all primary brain tumors and 54 percent of all gliomas. They are the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans.