Astrocytoma - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of children and teens who will be diagnosed with astrocytoma each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with a tumor are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this tumor and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for your child individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many children and teens are diagnosed with astrocytoma?

Astrocytoma accounts for about half of all brain tumors in children. In 2023, an estimated 1,118 children and teens age 0 to 19 in the United States will be diagnosed with astrocytoma. Pilocytic astrocytomas make up an estimated 15% of all brain and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors in this age group.

What is the survival rate for astrocytoma?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a child or teen’s chance of recovery from astrocytoma. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having a tumor may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with astrocytoma are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this tumor.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children and teens with astrocytoma are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if the tumor will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

For children younger than 15, the 5-year relative survival rate for pilocytic astrocytoma is 97%. For those with diffuse astrocytoma, the 5-year relative survival rate is 82%. The 5-year relative survival rate for anaplastic astrocytoma is 25%.

The survival rates for astrocytoma vary based on several factors. These include the stage of tumor, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. Other factors that can affect outcomes include the grade of the astrocytoma and how much of the tumor can be removed during surgery. Children and teens with a type of astrocytoma that is unlikely to spread, called noninfiltrating astrocytoma, generally have a higher 5-year relative survival rate.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for astrocytoma every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how astrocytoma is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States Statistical Report: Primary Brain and Other Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2015–2019, published October 2022, and the Children’s Oncology Group CureSearch for Children’s Cancer website. (All sources accessed February 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by astrocytoma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.