Statistics at a Glance
At a Glance
|Year||New Cases - SEER 9||New Cases - SEER 13||Deaths - U.S.||Percent Surviving 5 Years - SEER 9|
|Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend|
Modeled trend lines were calculated from the underlying rates using the Joinpoint Trend Analysis Software.
Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of childhood brain and other nervous system cancer was 3.2 per 100,000 children per year. The number of deaths was 0.7 per 100,000 children per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2012-2016 cases and deaths.
How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Childhood Brain and Other Nervous System Cancer?
Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.
Based on data from SEER 18 2009-2015. Gray figures represent those who have died from childhood brain and other nervous system cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.
Survival by Stage
Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier childhood brain and other nervous system cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For childhood brain and other nervous system cancer, 79.5% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized childhood brain and other nervous system cancer is 77.2%.
|Stage||Percent of Cases||5-Year Relative Survival|
Confined to Primary Site
Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
Cancer Has Metastasized
SEER 18 2009-2015, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000
Number of New Cases and Deaths
How Common Is This Cancer?
Compared to other childhood cancers, childhood brain and other nervous system cancer is fairly common.
|Rank||Common Types of Childhood Cancer||New Cases
|2.||Brain and Other Nervous System||3.2||0.7|
|6.||Soft Tissue including Heart||1.1||0.2|
|8.||Bone and Joint||1.0||0.2|
|9.||Kidney and Renal Pelvis||0.7||0.1|
Childhood brain and other nervous system cancer represents 17.2% of all new childhood cancer cases.
SEER 21 Incidence & U.S. Mortality 2012-2016, Ages 0-19. Rates are Age-Adjusted
Who Gets This Cancer?
Childhood brain and other nervous system cancer is slightly more common in boys than girls. The number of new cases of childhood brain and other nervous system cancer was 3.2 per 100,000 children per year based on 2012-2016 cases.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||2.3|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||Not Shown, <16 cases|
SEER 21 2012-2016, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of New Cases|
Childhood brain and other nervous system cancer is most frequently diagnosed among children aged 5-9.
SEER 21 2012-2016, All Races, Both Sexes
Who Dies From This Cancer?
Brain and other nervous system cancer is the leading cause of childhood cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 0.7 per 100,000 children per year based on 2012-2016 deaths.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||0.8|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||Not Shown, <16 cases|
U.S. 2012-2016, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of Deaths|
The percent of childhood brain and other nervous system cancer deaths is highest among children aged 5-9.
U.S. 2012-2016, All Races, Both Sexes
Trends in Rates
Changes Over Time
Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.
Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new childhood brain and other nervous system cancer cases have been stable over the last 10 years. Death rates have not changed significantly over 2007-2016. 5-year survival trends are shown below.
More About This Cancer
Cancer and the Brain
Figure: Drawing of brain anatomy showing the brain stem, pons, medulla, spinal cord, cerebellum, cerebrum, meninges, ventricles (fluid-filled spaces), and skull.
Figure: Drawing of brain anatomy showing the supratentorial area (the upper part of the brain) and the posterior fossa/infratentorial area (the lower back part of the brain). The supratentorial area contains the cerebrum, lateral ventricle, third ventricle, choroid plexus, hypothalamus, pineal gland, pituitary gland, and optic nerve. The posterior fossa/infratentorial area contains the cerebellum, tectum, fourth ventricle, and brain stem (pons and medulla). The tentorium and spinal cord are also shown.
Brain and other nervous system cancer is the second most common type of childhood cancer. Although there are many types of brain and other nervous system cancer in children, malignant pilocytic astrocytomas, medulloblastomas, and malignant gliomas make up the majority of all cases. This factsheet combines all types of childhood brain and other nervous system cancer.
Even when diagnosed with the same type of brain or nervous system tumor, symptoms and outcomes for children differ from adults.
Brain and other central nervous system cancer develops when abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Abnormal cell growth forms tumors, which may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Both benign and malignant brain tumors need treatment. There are many types of childhood brain and other nervous system cancer, including:
Here are some resources for learning more about brain and other nervous system cancers.
All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.
All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.
SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Childhood Brain and Other Nervous System Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/childbrain.html
These stat facts focus on population statistics that are based on the U.S. population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.
The statistics presented in these stat facts are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.
Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.