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Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for brain cancer by age and trends over time are presented here. The ICD code for brain cancer is ICD-10 C71. This is different to the incidence and mortality stats which include other brain cancer codes and non-malignant brain tumours.

The statistics on these pages give an overall picture of survival. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics include all adults diagnosed with brain cancer, at all ages, stages and co-morbidities. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, you will probably find our CancerHelp pages more relevant and useful.

The latest survival statistics available for brain cancer in England are 2005-2009 (followed up to 2010). Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

 

One-, five- and ten-year survival

The latest age-standardised relative survival rates for brain cancer in England during 2005-2009 show that 41.5% of men are expected to survive their disease for at least one year, the survival rates for women are alike also with 41.5% expected to survive for one year or more (Table 3.1).1,2 Five-year age-standardised data is not available but the un-standardised rates show that 14.5% men survive five years or more and 16.1% women. Broadly similar rates have been reported for Wales and Northern Ireland.3-5

Table 3.1: Brain Cancer (C71), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, Adults (Aged 15-99), England 2005-2009 and England and Wales 2007

Relative Survival (%)
1 Year 5 Year 10 Year
Sex 2005-2009 2005-2009* 2007**
Male 41.5 14.5 9.3
Female 41.5 16.1 9.6

Download this table XLS (33KB)

*Five-year survival rates are not age-standardised
**Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

A common misconception is to treat five-year survival rates as ‘cure’ rates. However, for brain cancer survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis (Table 3.1).6

The five-year relative survival rates for brain cancer are the fourth lowest of the 21 most common cancers in England.1 Reasons for this relatively low survival are the often late presentation7 of brain tumours and the difficulty in treating them.

section reviewed 09/05/12
section updated 09/05/12

 

By age

As with nearly all cancers, relative survival for brain cancer is higher in younger men and women, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in older people. The reasons for this are likely to include a combination of better general health, more effective response to treatment and earlier diagnosis in younger people overall. Differences in underlying tumour biology may also play a part for some cancer sites.

The five-year relative survival rates for brain cancer in men in England during 2005-2009 ranged from 53% in 15-39 year olds to 2% in 70-79 year olds (Figure 3.1).1 Relative survival was higher in women for most of the age groups, ranging from 62% in 15-39 year olds to 2% in 70-79 year olds.
 

Figure 3.1: Brain Cancer (C71), Five-Year Relative Survival Rates by Age, England 2005-2009

surv_5yr_age_brain.swf

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section reviewed 09/05/12
section updated 09/05/12

 

Trends over time

Unlike the majority of cancers, relative survival for brain cancer has increased only slightly over time.8 This can be attributed in part to the fact that more than half (58%) of all brain cancers are emergency presentations, an indicator of late presentation.9  

In men, one-year relative survival rates for brain cancer increased from 19% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 41.5% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.2).1,6,10,11 In women, one-year relative survival rates increased from 20% to 41.5% during the same time periods, respectively.  

Figure 3.2: Brain Cancer (C71), Age-Standardised One-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and England 1996-2009

surv_1yr_brain.swf

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*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

While relative survival rates are still influenced by early diagnosis after five years, they are also strongly dependent on the success of treatment. In men, five-year relative survival rates for brain cancer increased from 7% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 14.5**% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.3).1,6,10,11 In women, five-year relative survival rates increased from 9% to 16.1**% during the same time periods, respectively.
 

Figure 3.3: Brain Cancer (C71), Age-Standardised Five-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009

surv_5yr_brain.swf

Download this chart XLS (50KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards
**Survival rates for 2005-2009 are not age-standardised

Ten-year relative survival rates for men diagnosed with brain cancer increased from 6% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to a predicted** 9.1% in England in 2007 (Figure 3.4).2,6,7 In women, ten-year relative survival rates increased from 7% to a predicted** 9.7% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.4: Brain Cancer (C71), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and Predicted 2007, England 1996-2000

surv_10yr_brain.swf

Download this chart XLS (48KB)

*Survival rates are not age-standardised from 1971-1985
**Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

section reviewed 10/05/12
section updated 10/05/12

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References for brain and other central nervous system tumours survival

  1. For data for 2005-2009: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. For data for 2007: Coleman MP, et al. Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2010.
  3. Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU). Cancer Survival Trends in Wales 1985-2004. Cardiff: WCISU; 2010.
  4. Information Services Division Scotland (ISD Scotland). Cancer Statistics. Cancer of the Brain. Accessed September 2011.
  5. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR). Cancer Survival Online Statistics. Brain. Accessed September 2011.
  6. For data for 1996-2003: Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, et al. Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007. Lancet Oncol. 2009;10:351-369. Age-standardised figures were provided by the author on request.
  7. Cancer Research UK. CancerStats report. Survival – England and Wales. London: Cancer Research UK; 2004.
  8. National Brain Tumour Registry. Brain and CNS National Survival Trends. http://www.nbtr.nhs.uk/reports.html. Accessed May 2012.
  9. National Cancer Intelligence Unit (NCIN). Routes to Diagnosis. London: NCIN; 2010.
  10. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
  11. For data for 1991-1995: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival: England and Wales, 1991-2001, twenty major cancers by age group. London: ONS; 2005.
Updated: 3 September 2012