Life Expectancy for Spinal & Brain Cancer


While certain individuals would rather not know the precise survival rates for their particular type of cancer, others view survival rate statistics as a type of challenge, becoming determined that they will beat the odds at any cost. Individuals facing brain and spinal cancers are generally up against long odds, making eventual victory that much more satisfying.

Brain Cancer

  • According to Medline Plus, there are two general types of brain cancer: primary and metastatic. Primary brain cancer is cancer that begins within the brain, whereas metastatic brain cancer is cancer which originates elsewhere and spreads to the brain. Symptoms of brain cancer include morning headaches, sensory disturbances (alterations in ability to speak, hear or see), and memory or coordination impairments.

Brain Cancer Survival Rates

  • According to statistics provided by, the average brain cancer survival rate is around 34 percent to 35 percent, being slightly lower for white males (32.1 percent) and slightly higher for black males (37.7 percent). These figures represent five-year survival rates, which is the general percentage of patients who will survive for a total of five years after the first diagnosis of cancer.

Spinal Cancer

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cancer is a malignant growth (tumor) that begins to develop within the spine. Even when the tumor is noncancerous it can cause damage by impinging upon nerves, possibly leading to paralysis. Symptoms include localized back pain, general weakness in the legs, partial paralysis or muscle failure or the development of a spinal deformity as the tumor grows.

Spinal Cancer Survival Rate

  • Survival rate for spinal cancers depend on the specific type of tumor with which a patient is affected. According to, plasmacytomas (a solitary mass of plasma cells) have a five-year survival rate of 60 percent, whereas individuals with Ewing's sarcoma (tumors developed from red bone marrow) have a survival rate of only 25 percent.


  • Survival rates are merely averages taken from a large sample of individuals. Your individual case, however, can easily provide for a survival rate that is better or worse depending on the aggressiveness and stage of the cancer. Do not get bogged down mentally by the statistics, as keeping a positive outlook will only benefit you in the long run in your fight against cancer.

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