Brain tumour 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 diagnosis of a brain tumour. They can give you an estimate, based on your tumour type and current situation, but they may not be able to predict other factors, such as how well you might respond to treatment. This is why prognosis is often an ongoing process, revised at different stages in your journey.

This information is a general overview of prognosis for the most common types of brain tumour in adults and children.

Receiving information about a brain tumour prognosis

Different people approach their prognosis in different ways.

  • Some do not want to know, because they are afraid of what they might hear and how it may affect them
  • Some just need some time to cope with their diagnosis before asking about their prognosis
  • Others may want to know from the beginning, using their prognosis to plan ahead

There is no right or wrong answer as to whether or when to receive such information. It is entirely up to you whether or when you want to speak to your doctor about your prognosis.

If you want to talk to someone about a brain tumour diagnosis, we're here to help.

You can call our support line on 0808 800 0004, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Brain tumour survival

The figures listed below are given in 1, 2, 5 and 10 year intervals simply because doctors use these intervals for research/measuring purposes – they are not meant to represent how long a person will live 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.

Adult brain tumours

It is important to remember that statistics and averages cannot tell you what will happen to you specifically. You can find a general overview of prognosis for the most common adult brain tumours below.

Meningioma

Low grade (grade 1)

More than 80% of people with this type of meningioma survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

High grade (grade 3)

Less than 60% with a high grade meningioma survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Read more about meningioma brain tumour types and treatments.

Oligodendroglioma

Low grade (grade 2)

About 66 to 78% of people with a grade 2 oligodendroglioma survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

High grade/anaplastic (grade 3)

About 30 to 38% of people with this type of tumour will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Read more about oligodendroglioma brain tumour types and treatments.

Astrocytoma

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.

Read more about astrocytoma brain tumour types and treatments.

Glioblastoma (grade 4)

The average survival time is 12-18 months - only 20% of glioblastoma patients survive more than one year, and only 3% of patients survive more than three years.

Read more about glioblastoma brain tumour treatments.

Childhood brain tumours

It is important to remember that statistics and averages cannot tell you exactly what will happen to your child. You can find a general overview of prognosis for the most common types of brain tumour in children below.

Astrocytoma (grade 1 and 2)

Almost 90% of children survive for 5 years or more after surgery.

Medulloblastoma

Average risk

About 70 to 80% of children diagnosed with medulloblastoma live for five years or more.

High risk

About 60 to 65% of children live for five years or more.

Read more about medulloblastoma brain tumour treatments and side-effects.

Ependymoma

About 60% of children with diagnosed with an Ependymoma brain tumour survive for five years or more.

Read more about Ependymoma brain tumour types and treatments.

DIPG

About 10% of children with DIPG survive longer than 2 years after diagnosis.

Read more about DIPG brain tumour symptoms and treatments.

How to cope

Receiving a prognosis for a brain tumour can be devastating and it can be very difficult to come to terms with what you or your loved one has been told. We are here to help.

You can talk to someone who understands on our Support & Info Line, which can be reached on 0808 800 0004 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm), or by email: support@thebraintumourcharity.org.

We also provide a range of support services including:

Support and info line

Our support and info line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Find out more.

Phone support groups

We have a number of groups so there are many days and times to choose from. Groups are held on a monthly basis for 1 hour

Facebook support groups

We currently have three Facebook groups for you to share experiences, find and give support and help you feel less isolated.

Local Support Groups

Meet others that are facing similar challenges. View all of our Support Groups in a list, sorted by geographical region.

Children and Families Service

Our Children and Families Service offers families of under 18s affected by a brain tumour access to a variety of support.

Teenage and Young Adult Service

Get information about our new service for under 30s affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.

Page last reviewed: 05/2015
Next review due: 05/2018

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:

Support & Info Line

0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)

support@thebraintumourcharity.org

Research & Clinical Trials Info Line

01252 749 999

clinicaltrials@thebraintumourcharity.org

Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

You can also join our active online community on Facebook - find out more about our groups.