Cancer Survival RatesThursday, March 5th, 2009
Cancer prognosis is always discussed in terms of Cancer Survival Rates; there are 5 year, 10 year and even 15 years survival rates for various types of cancers at various stages.
What do Cancer Survival Rates Mean?
Cancer survival rates are basically statistics which are averages of a large number of patients suffering from cancer at various stages. They tell a patient the percentage of people who survive a certain type of cancer at a particular stage for a particular period of time. These percentages are gathered from research based on hundreds or thousands of cancer patients. These averages can be of two types, overall and relative.
Cancer Survival Rates: Generalization
Overall cancer survival rates include people of all ages, sexes and at all stages of cancer. For instance, the overall pancreatic cancer survival rates for 5 years is 5%. This indicates that only 5 out of 100 people diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer will survive 5 years. Conversely, it also means that 95 people out of 100 patients diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer will die within 5 years of diagnosis. These figures include men and women of all ages suffering from Pancreatic Cancer at all stages.
Relative survival rates narrow down the prediction to certain specifics like specific stages of cancer, for certain sexes or for certain treatments. For instance, while the overall statistics for Lung Cancer indicate that only 20% survive for 1 year after diagnosis, 6% survive for 5 years and 5% survive for 10 years, more relative survival rates based on the stages of Lung Cancer indicate a 70-80% 5 year survival rate at stage 0, 50% at stage 1, 30% at stage 2, 15% at stage 3 and less than 2% at stage 4.
Importance of Knowing Cancer Survival Rates
Cancer survival rates are used to give patients and doctors an idea or an estimation of a patients prognosis. At no point can they be used as a definite indicator of the outcome of the disease, because no two patients are alike, or no two cancers, even the same type in two different people are alike.
Cancer survival rates are a tool to understand the prognosis for a patient, so that a likely course of treatment may be planned, personal finances may be planned and decisions regarding lifestyle changes and the patient’s quality of life may be made.