- Each year more than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor. Primary brain tumors comprise approximately 40,000 of these diagnoses.
- Brain tumors can strike anyone at any age, any nationality and either sex.
- There are over 120 different types of brain tumors, which make effective treatment complicated. They can be malignant or non-malignant (benign), and in either case, can be just as injurious or life threatening. At present, the standard treatments for brain tumors include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These may be used either individually or in combination.
- Brain tumors in children are different from those in adults, and consequently, are treated differently. As many as 69% of children will survive, but they are often left with long-term side effects.
- Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under the age of 20, now surpassing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). They are the second leading cause of cancer death in male adults ages 20-29 and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in female adults ages 20-39.
- There are currently no known causes of brain tumors. Charles Cobbs, MD, a researcher and neurosurgeon at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, is studying the possible connection between a common virus and the inflammatory nature of GBMs. The virus, called cytomegalovirus or CMV, is a herpes virus carried by 50-80% of adults. In most cases, CMV infection has no symptoms. However, Dr. Cobbs has found that CMV infects over 98% of GBMs and not the adjacent normal brain. Continuing research may open a door to a new approach for treatment.
Some brain tumors cannot be detected by a blood test which makes an MRI or CT Scan the only efficient diagnosis tools.
- Brain tumor research is severely underfunded. Increasing public awareness of the warning signs is crucial to early detection. However, the cure rate for most brain tumors is significantly lower than that for many other types of cancer.
Information obtained from the following sources:
- Central Brain Tumor Registry of the U.S (CBTRUS – www.cbtrus.org)
- American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
- National Institutes of Health, www.nih.gov
- Search Spring 2008, Issue #75 – Publication by the National Brain Tumor Society