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What is the prognosis for central nervous system (CNS) tumor?

Asma Taha
Child Neurology

Prognosis of brain tumor depends on the following:

  • Tumor type based on pathological examination of the tumor cells. Type of tumor (such as astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, medulloblastoma or ependymoma).
  • Location and size of tumor. Location can determine access to the tumor and location and size will influence if the tumor can be totally or partially surgically resected.
  • Tumor grade: tumors are graded from grade I to IV. The lowest the grade is the less cancerous the grade.
  • Patient’s age: younger children have poorer prognosis if diagnosed with cancerous tumor.
  • Metastasis:  did the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as the spine (most common), lymph nodes or the bone marrow?  

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health.

Each person is different. The prognosis depends greatly on prompt diagnosis and treatment, the individual's age and general health, whether the tumor is malignant or benign, the size and location of the tumor, the tumor grade, and the response to therapy. An individual whose entire tumor has been removed successfully may recover completely. Generally, prognosis is poorer in very young children and in older individuals. Rehabilitation and counseling can help patients and family members cope with the disorder and improve the quality of life.

Continued monitoring and long-term follow-up is advised because many tumors resist treatment and tend to recur.

Normal tissue and nerves that may have been damaged or traumatized by the tumor or its treatment need time to heal. Some post-treatment symptoms disappear over time. Physical therapy can help people regain motor skills, muscle strength, and balance. Some individuals need to relearn how to swallow or speak if the brain's cognitive areas have been affected. Occupational therapy can teach people new ways to perform tasks. Supportive care can help people manage any pain and other symptoms.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.