When you or a loved one is diagnosed with brain cancer, especially an aggressive one like Glioblastoma, one of the first questions that run through your mind is about glioblastoma life expectancy.
Given that my husband, Kraston, was a strong, otherwise healthy, young 33 year old man when he was diagnosed, his doctors did not give us a ‘prognosis’ or life expectancy. So being the curious researcher that I am, I set out to review all of the statistics available to determine what we should expect.
Life Expectancy Without Treatment
Without treatment of any kind, the typical glioblastoma life expectancy is generally accepted to be around 3 months. This is generally for people who have inoperable tumors and are too sick to undergo radiation or chemo. Luckily, Kraston’s tumor was operable and he was healthy and strong enough that he had few side effects from radiation or chemo.
Life Expectancy with Treatment
Life expectancy with for a cancer patient seems to be defined as “median survival time since diagnosis”, or the amount of time that 50% of patients survive after diagnosis. Median survival time is usually measured in months for glioblastoma.
Another way many resources measure life expectancy is as a percentage of people who live to an indicated number of years.
The number of months of survival time varies somewhat depending on how old the data is. Many websites still state a life expectancy of 12-15 months, but median survival time seems to have improved over the last ten years.
The following are the most current statistics that I have found:
Data from UCLA Neuro-Oncology
- Age range 18-34: 36.5 months.
- Age range 36-50: 20.8 months.
- Age range 50-70: 19.7 months.
- Age range 70-93: 16.2 months.
- Total Age range 18-93: 20.1 months
Data From November 2016 Stupp Presentation
- Standard Protocol: 19.8 months.
- Standard Protocol + Optune: 24.5 months
Source: SNO 2016 Clinical Highlights
Data From American Brain Tumor Association
- 30% survival at 2 years.
- Almost 10% survival at 5 years.
Source: Glioblastoma (GBM)
Glioblastoma Life Expectancy
It has been 8 months today since Kraston was diagnosed. As noted above, he hasn’t been given any specific prognosis. He had a stable (unchanged) MRI last week and is currently feeling good. So we will keep trucking along until something changes.
Statistically 99% of glioblastoma patients have a recurrence (aka progression, aka starts growing again and causing symptoms). I’ll probably do an analysis of the statistics for “progression free” time soon, but initial information from the indicates an average of 7 months progression free time since completion of radiation.
We are coming up on 6 months since radiation, so my prayer is that his tumor will wait as long as possible before it starts to grow again.