Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Brain Stem Glioma - Childhood

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 3/2014
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ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have brain stem glioma each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Approximately 4,000 CNS tumors are diagnosed each year in children younger than 20. Brain stem tumors account for 10% of all childhood brain tumors. After leukemia, CNS tumors are the second most common childhood cancer, accounting for about 21% of cancer in children younger than 15.

The survival rate is the percentage of people who survive after the tumor is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. The survival rate for children with brain stem glioma varies depending on the location of the tumor. Long-term survival rates for children with a tumor in the midbrain or the medulla oblongata range from 65% to 90%. However, a pontine glioma, which is a tumor located in the pons, is more difficult to treat and often worsens quickly. It is uncommon for a child with a tumor in this location to live longer than 12 to 14 months after diagnosis.

Survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. Estimates are based on data from thousands of children with this type of tumor, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with a brain stem glioma. Because the survival statistics are measured in multi-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2014 and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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