May is not just National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Month, it’s also National Brain Tumor Awareness Month.
- Of the nearly 80,000 brain tumors diagnosed in the U.S. each year, approximately 32% are considered malignant – or cancerous.
- Overall, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord in his or her lifetime is less than 1%.
- Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the deadliest type of brain cancer, accounting for 45% of all malignant brain tumors.
Here’s a list of seven facts you need to know about brain tumors. And make sure you read about the work NFCR is doing to combat the deadliest brain cancer with GBM AGILE.
1. Primary brain cancer is rare.
A primary malignant brain tumor is a rare type of cancer accounting for only about 1.4% of all new cancer cases in the U.S. The most common brain tumors are known as secondary tumors, meaning they have metastasized, or spread, to the brain from other parts of the body such as the lungs, breasts, colon or prostate.
2. The cause of brain cancer is usually unknown.
Most people diagnosed with a primary brain tumor do not have any known risk factors. However, certain risk factors and genetic conditions have been shown to increase a person’s chances of developing one, including:
- The risk of a brain tumor increases as you age.
- People who have been exposed to ionizing radiation—such as radiation therapy used to treat cancer and radiation exposure caused by atomic bombs– have an increased risk of brain tumor.[i]
- Rare genetic disorders like Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2) may raise the risk of developing certain types of brain tumors. Otherwise, there is little evidence that brain cancer runs in families.[ii]
3. Typically brain tumors don’t have obvious symptoms.
Headaches that get worse over time are a symptom of many ailments including brain tumors. Other symptoms may include personality changes, eye weakness, nausea or vomiting, difficulty speaking or comprehending and short-term memory loss.
Even benign or non-cancerous tumors can be serious and life threatening. If you experience these symptoms, speak with your doctor right away.
4. Brain tumors can occur at any age.
Primary brain tumors—those that begin in the brain—can develop at any age, but they are most common in children and older adults. While brain tumors are one of the most common cancers occurring in children 0-14 years, the average age of diagnosis is 59 years. [iii]
5. Cell phones aren’t proven to cause brain cancer.
Although long-term studies are ongoing, to date there is no definitive evidence that cell phone use increases the risk of cancer. However, if you are concerned about the possible link between cellphones and cancer, consider limiting your use of cellphones — or use a speaker or hands-free device.
6. Survival rates vary.
There are different types of primary brain cancer and survival rates vary significantly depending on the type of cancer. Some types of brain cancer, such as meningioma, anaplastic ependymoma and oligodendroglioma, are highly treatable, while others are less responsive to treatment.
7. With GBM AGILE, the future looks promising.
Glioblastoma multiforme (also known as GBM) is the deadliest of all (primary) brain cancers and is widely regarded as incurable and universally fatal, killing 95% of patients within five years of diagnosis.
To combat this deadly disease, NFCR is part of a robust, international coalition working on innovative ways to defeat GBM utilizing a rigorous adaptive trial platform known as GBM AGILE (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment). Led by some of the best and brightest brain cancer researchers in the world, GBM AGILE is re-engineering the way clinical trials are conducted to develop more effective treatments faster than ever before.
To learn more about adaptive clinical trials and GBM AGILE, click here.