Because of all the bad news and misconceptions about brain tumors, the news of a diagnosis can be a shock to loved ones which can certainly create a traumatic situation as the fear of losing a close one increases.
But the reality is some patients triumph over brain cancer; even if they are at stage 4 of brain cancer, survival expectancy is still alive.
The only thing which becomes a cause of risk is if the patients have faced delayed diagnosis, incomplete treatment, or delayed treatment.
Still, your concern is right in case you have reached stage 4 brain cancer.
What is a brain tumor or brain cancer?
Brain tumors refer to as growth of abnormal mass cells within the brain or nearby region. Being a vital organ of the human body, tumors can significantly interfere with the functioning of a human body, such as taste, smell, senses, and overall body movement can be impacted.
Brain tumors can progress and change their location within the brain. But in rare cases, they have been found migrating outside the brain. These tumors don’t behave in the same way as other cancers.
That’s why doctors examine and study brain cancer development through a grading system. It helps them evaluate the patient’s needs and decide the best treatment to minimize the risk probability.
Assessing the brain tumours
To evaluate the overall progress of tumors within the brain, doctors consider certain things that tend to impact brain functionality. Such as, they may consider the following things –
- Size and location of the brain tumor
- Types of tissues or cells affected
- Expectancy if brain cancer can be partially or completely removed by surgery
- Assessing the spread of cancer within the brain
- Assessing the spread of cancer outside the brain
The tumor grading is finalized upon a thorough assessment of the brain tumors and their possibility. However, tumors in other parts of the body are staged based on the evolution of cancer. But tumors in the brain are graded based on their responses and appearance under a microscope.
Brain tumor treatment is decided based on the tumor grade. Similarly, surgical operations are also decided by the tumor’s location, size, and patient’s overall health so far.
Understanding the total 4 stages of brain cancer
Cancerous diseases have been a threat to life ever since their first sign is visible in the body because it is sometimes unclear whether the symptoms are associated with the tumor or something else. In most events, patients experience symptoms at grade 3 or grade 4 for brain cancer. Let’s understand what exactly a grade means –
· Grade 1 Brain Cancer
It is the initial stage of the brain tumor. During the first grade, tumor growth is slow and is probably intact from the nearby tissues. If detected earlier, surgical treatment may provide rid of the disease.
· Grade 2 Brain Cancer
The second-grade brain cancer also develops slowly, but this time, it might have spread to other parts of the brain or possibly have progressed to the nearby tissues.
· Grade 3 Brain Cancer
Tumor begins to look different from normal cells at this stage. Compared to grade 1 or grade 2, they progress rapidly with a higher possibility of spreading to nearby brain tissues.
· Grade 4 Brain Cancer
The ultimate stage, or grade 4 brain cancer, has its own appearance, and the condition is called glioblastoma. The tumor of this stage no more looks like normal cells. Compared to all other stages, it grows more rapidly in the brain, thus reducing life expectancy.
Survival expectancy after grade 4 brain cancer
Unfortunately, if you have come in contact with a brain tumor and have detected it when the tumor has progressed a lot that it is now at the end stage – in short grade 4, you should be very serious.
People diagnosed with brain cancers can stay alive for five years from the time the first tumor in the brain is detected. Still, there are certain factors that can proportionally impact life expectancy. Such as,
- Tumor type
People at the last stage or with a Grade 4 brain tumor typically have an average survival time of 12 – 18 months. Only 25% of these may survive more than one year, and 5% of these may live more than five years.
You could be among those 5 years if you are young and have a good health profile.
According to studies, the percentage of people diagnosed with a brain tumor during their lifetime is only 1%. But numerically, the figure is insanely huge. How long a patient will survive is just an estimate by the doctor. So, make sure you take no symptom or doctor’s suggestion lightly. If you are not sure about your treatment, you can go for cancer second opinion.