What does it mean to have stage 3 brain cancer? There is a staging system for most types of cancer. The staging system is used to describe where a tumor located, where a tumor has spread and whether a tumor is affecting other organs. However, this is not the case with brain cancer. In fact, there is no recommended staging system for brain tumors.
Why? Because in most cases, most of the primary tumors do not spread beyond the central nervous system. As a replacement, there is a grading system. This grading system describes how cancerous a tumor is as well as the chances of it to grow, which depends on some specific features.
As we have mentioned earlier, the grading system describes the features of the tumor and its likely outcomes. For instance, doctors may consider if there are lots of dead cells or whether the cells of the tumor is growing out of control. Tumors which have features that are linked to rapid growth will be then given a higher grade. The lower the grade of the tumor, the better the prognosis. For example, stage 1 brain cancer will have better prognosis compared to stage 3 brain cancer.
- Grade 1
Grade or stage 1 brain cancer is a separate group of tumors known as juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (or JPA for short) and subependymoma. These tumors are slow growing, non-invasive and in most cases can be cured with surgery.
- Grade 2
Grade or stage 2 brain cancer do not have dead cells in the tumor (necrosis) or have actively dividing cells. In this grade, there will be many abnormal cells. There are three types of grade or stage 2 brain cancer: astrocytoma, ependymoma or oligodendroglioma.
- Grade 3
The grading system for the grade or stage 3 brain canceris based on the cell type. For instance, anaplastic astrocytoma, anaplastic ependymoma, and anaplastic oligodendroglioma. The former contains dividing cells but there is no dead cell, while the latter two have dead cells.
- Grade 4
Grade or stage 4 cancer is often glioblastoma. The tumor cells are actively dividing while also having areas of dead tissue and blood vessel growth.
5-year Survival Rate
The 5-year survival rate for people diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is 28.8 % for men and 31.6% for women. Below are the 5-year survival rate divided into age group when the diagnoses were made.
- 0 – 19: 66%
- 20 – 24: 49.2%
- 45 – 54: 24%
- 55 – 64: 11.1%
- 65 – 74: 6.7%
- 75 or older: 4.7%
As you can see, age is a factor here. The younger the age of the patient, the more likely they are to survive.
Don’t Lose Hope
The 5-year survival rate should not discourage you. Nor make you lose hope. Why? Because it is not a guarantee. In fact, the number is used to give a general idea of the severity of the tumor. So, don’t be discouraged by it.
If you have a grade or stage 3 brain cancer, do not lose hope either. Progress is made in brain tumor research. Thanks to new techniques and technologies, neurosurgeons can know see, reach and even remove tumors that previously cannot be reached. We hope this article helps you get a better understanding of brain cancer.