Frequently Asked Questions: Brain Tumours
Q.1 Can you survive brain metastases?
Any metastatic cancer generally carries poor prognosis. Many cancer like Lung, Breast, Colon, Kidney, etc. metastatise to the brain. The prognosis of a patient with brain metastatis depends on multiple factors like:
- The extent of spread in the brain i.e. whether single legion or multiple
- The extent of spread in other organs of the body apart from the brain
- Depends on the prognosis of the primary malignancy
- Which parts of the brain are involved
Various treatment options like surgical excision, especially for solitary lesions in non-eloquent areas, whole brain radiation stereotactic radiosurgery & chemotherapy area available nowadays to increase survival in patients with brain metastases.
Q.2 What is life expectancy of a patient with brain tumors?
Life expectancy of a patient with brain tumor depends on whether it is benign or malignant. In case of benign tumors where complete surgical excision is possible, the long term outcome is excellent. The chance of tumor recurrence is very small most patients lead a normal life. In case of malignant/cancerous brain tumors. The life expectancy depends on the type of cancer & the stage in which the cancer is detected. Brain cancers when detected early like pilocytic astrocytoma have life expectancy in excess of 10-15 years only. Only Grade 4 cancers of the brain/ metastatic brain tumors have poor life expectancy varying from 6 months to 2 Years.
Q.3 Can you beat brain tumors?
Ans. Definitely Yes, not all brain tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors can be removed completely & the chances of recurrence in such cases is very minimal. Even in cancerous brain tumors surgical excision is possible in most tumors. Depending on the site of the lesion in the brain, total / near total excision is possible in most tumors. Post-operative & oral chemotherapy have also helped to increase the survival in patients with brain tumor.
Q.4 What are different stages of brain tumor?
Ans. Brain tumor are stages according to their cell type ( Glial tumors, Astrocytic tumors, Ependymomas, Choroid plexus tumor etc. & the grade of the tumor (Grade I & IV). As brain tumors rarely spared to other organs, the usual TNM Classification leased for most other cancers is not applied to brain tumors. Stage 1, represents lower grade tumors which have slow growth & good long term survival. Stage 4 represents higher grade tumors very rapid growth, poor long term survival or sometimes extacranial spread.
Inputs by Dr. Abhijit Kulkarni , Consultant Neurosurgery