Survival rates for brain tumours remain poor

Around 290 malignant primary tumours of the brain are diagnosed every year, according to the latest figures from the National Cancer Registry.

The finding is contained in the latest Cancer Trends report, which also showed that between 1994 and 2012, there was an an average of 100 female and 137 male deaths from tumours of the brain and the central nervous system.

According to the statistical analysis, brain and central nervous system tumours have a younger age-profile than for many common cancers and brain tumours were more common in men than in women.

An average 480 primary tumours of the brain and central nervous system were diagnosed each year between 1994 and 2013, representing 1.8% of all tumours registered by the NCR.

According to the report: “Survival for patients with malignant brain cancer is poor and in Ireland, five-year net survival overall was just 19%, similar to figures quoted for Britain.

“Rates have fluctuated somewhat over time, but there has been a small decline [in deaths] overall, by about 1.5% per year in females and almost 1% in males.”

The report also revealed that of almost 5,800 patients diagnosed with malignant brain cancer since 1994, there were 1,167 alive at the end of 2013.

National Cancer Registry interim director Harry Comber said malignant brain cancers include some of the most highly fatal cancers and there was little evidence of an overall improvement in survival rates.

“However, the prognosis for patients with some subtypes is more favourable, and other encouraging findings include improvements in treatment and no increase in the overall rate of brain cancer compared with earlier years,” said Dr Comber.


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