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Astrocytomas are a type of brain tumour. They actually fall under gliomas – a larger group of brain tumours. They are also the most common type of primary brain tumour. This means the tumour starts in the brain instead of spreading from somewhere else in the body.
Astrocytomas can be either low grade or high grade. They cover the whole grading spectrum, meaning they can be either grade 1, grade 2, grade 3 or grade 4.
What is a prognosis
A prognosis is when your doctor gives you a forecast of the likely outcome of your medical condition.
Your doctor cannot be absolutely certain about what will happen to you following a brain tumour diagnosis. They can give you an estimate, based on your tumour type and current situation. But they might not be able to predict other things, like how well you might respond to treatment.
This is why prognosis is often an ongoing process, looked at and sometimes changed at different stages of your journey.
Cancer Research UK have some information about the things that can affect brain tumour survival.
Below are the average prognoses for the different stages of astrocytoma. These relate to adults and children.
It is important to remember that statistics and averages cannot tell you what will happen to you specifically.
Low grade (grade 2)
The average survival time after surgery is 6 – 8 years. More than 40% of people live more than 10 years.
High grade (grade 3)
About 27% of people diagnosed with a high grade astrocytoma live for five years or more.
Astrocytoma (Grade 1 and 2) child survival rates
Almost 90% of children survive for 5 years or more after surgery.
Grade 4 – Glioblastoma
A grade 4 astrocytoma is called a glioblastoma. The average survival time is 12-18 months – only 25% of glioblastoma patients survive more than one year, and only 5% of patients survive more than five years.
The figures listed above for astrocytoma survival are given in 1, 2, 5 and 10 year intervals because doctors use these intervals for research/measuring purposes – they are not meant to represent how long a person will past those intervals. For example, a patient who is a 5 year survivor might live as long as any other healthy person, depending on their circumstances.
Receiving information about an astrocytoma prognosis
Different people approach their prognosis in different ways.
- Some are scared of what they might hear, so don’t want to know
- Some want a little time to get to terms with their diagnosis before getting their prognosis
- Others might want to know right from the beginning
There is no right or wrong answer to how or when you receive the news. It’s entirely up to you when, or even if, you want to speak to your doctor about your prognosis.
If you are feeling unsure or worried about this, contact our Support team on 0808 800 0004 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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