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Brain Cancer Prognosis

A brain cancer prognosis is a doctor's opinion as to the likely course and outcome of the disease. Factors that affect a person's brain cancer prognosis include the type of tumor and where it is located. It is important to keep in mind that a brain cancer prognosis is only a prediction -- the doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.

Brain Cancer Prognosis: An Overview

People who are facing brain cancer are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Understanding brain cancer and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones plan brain cancer treatment, think about lifestyle changes, and make decisions about their quality of life and finances. Many people with the disease want to know their brain cancer prognosis. They either ask their doctor or search for statistics on their own.
 

What Is a Prognosis?

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. In other words, the prognosis is the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer). Many factors affect a person's prognosis, including:
 
  • The type, location, and size of the cancer
  • The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
  • Its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread)
  • The person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
     
When doctors discuss a person's prognosis, they carefully consider all of the factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then try to predict what might happen. The doctor will base the brain cancer prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds or even thousands of people with cancer. When possible, the doctor will use statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient.
 
The doctor may speak of a favorable brain cancer prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The brain cancer prognosis may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. It is important to keep in mind that a prognosis is only a prediction and that the doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.
 
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