Recent trends have shown improvement in the brain tumor survival rate among Americans. In 2008, the American Cancer Society announced a significant decrease in the number of brain and central nervous system cancer deaths over a 13-year span from 1991 to 2004. The ACA reported that deaths due to malignant brain tumors decreased 14.36 percent over that time frame.

Additionally, a study by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, a premier source for cancer statistics in the United States, showed positive trends in the brain tumor survival rate.

The SEER data from 1973–2001, of five-year survival rates for people with malignant brain tumors, showed improvement over a three-decade period. The survival rate improved from 21 percent in the 1970s to 27 percent in the 1980s and 31 percent in the 1990s.

These trends parallel earlier ones noted by the Central Brain Tumor Registry. From 1973–1976, 22 percent of persons in the United States diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor survived at least five years. That rate increased to 32 percent for those diagnosed from 1992–1998.

The phrase “five-year survival” should not be taken to indicate that this group of people lived only five years from the beginning of the study. It simply means that this brain tumor survival rate study followed these subjects for five years, which is a standard goal when measuring survival for most diseases.