Stages of Dying of Brain Cancer

Stages of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is divided into four progressive and overlapping stages. Stage 1 is the least malignant stage of development: Cancer cells multiply slowly. Stage 2 is marked by the slow growth of cancer cells, which may spread into neighboring cells and develop into a higher stage of tumor that is more aggressive; still, they are treatable. Stage 3 is identified by the active reproduction of abnormal cells, which infiltrate adjacent normal brain tissue. During this stage, tumors often recur at a higher stage and treatment is generally difficult but can be successful.

Stage 4

During stage 4, cancer cells reproduce rapidly and are classified by their widespread presence in the brain, spinal cord and other nearby organs. Symptoms present during the early stages continue, except that they are generally worse. According to, these symptoms may include headaches, seizures, convulsions, memory problems, speech problems, numbness and difficulty walking. Personality changes are also common: moodiness, withdrawal, bizarre behaviors and belligerence or violence.

Normal Brain Function Affected

What Are the Last Stages of Pancreatic Cancer Like?

Learn More

By the time stage 4 has been reached, probably one or more of three treatments has been attempted: surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Each treatment, while aimed at removing the cancer, can affect normal brain function. With radiation and chemotherapy, it is not uncommon for sickening nausea and vomiting to ensue. Doctors can sometimes help with those issues by prescribing powerful drugs. Once brain cancer is classified as stage 4, the success rate of treatment measurably lowers.

End Stage

According to, if none of the treatments are effective in treating the brain cancer, patients will begin to have less energy for activities. Patients will begin to sleep more, but when they are awake, they will be fairly functional in terms of interacting with others. Patients generally will not be in pain. Death at this stage usually occurs when a patient is sleeping. When the patient begins to sleep for most of the day, it is a sign they are approaching their final days.