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After receiving a brain cancer diagnosis, many people are anxious to look at recent statistics. While it’s always a good idea to become as educated as possible, it’s also important to understand that the current survival rate should never be viewed as an absolute because it can be affected by many different factors.

First and foremost, a patient’s outcome and quality of life will be significantly influenced by the type of cancer that he or she was diagnosed with. For instance, some types of brain cancer, including meningioma, anaplastic ependymoma and oligodendroglioma, typically respond very well to treatment. Other types, which tend to be less responsive to the currently available options, are becoming more and more treatable through research breakthroughs, which are happening every day.

While the type of brain cancer that a patient has is possibly the most influential factor in his or her outcome, there are other factors to consider as well. Age often plays a key role, as does the cancer’s stage. Still, it’s essential to understand that general statistics are not indicative of any single patient’s prognosis.

How reliable are brain cancer statistics?

General statistics can be informative, but they can also be misleading. That’s because this information:

  • Is based on the collective experiences of a large number of patients
  • Does not take into account individual factors, such as a patient’s response to treatment
  • Is outdated by nature (most statistics are calculated using information that is approximately five years old or more, before today’s most innovative brain cancer treatment options were available)

For these reasons, the best way for a patient to understand the statistics – and how they relate to him or her – is to speak directly with an oncologist who can explain this information in the proper context.

Patients who would like to learn more are encouraged to consult with the oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center. The multispecialty team in our Neuro-Oncology Program takes an individualized approach to brain cancer treatment, and we view our patients as much more than statistics. To request an appointment – with or without a referral – call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.