The five-year survival rate is a statistic physicians often discuss with patients. This number represents the percentage of people who survive a minimum of five years after a cancer diagnosis. Some patients survive longer than the five years, and some patients are cured.
These statistics take into account that some patients will die due to something other than cancer and compare the survival rate with what physicians expect for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. This provides a better comparison for observing how cancer affects survival.
Physicians study patients who receive treatment for a minimum of five years to calculate five-year survival rates. Patients should realize that advancements in detecting and treating cancer in the time since then may result in a better prognosis for patients diagnosed now.
Survival rates take into account the outcomes for a large population of patients with cancer, but they are not able to predict the outcome for any single individual. Overall health, age, treatment and the patient’s response to cancer treatment are some of the factors that can affect a patient’s prognosis. Your personal physician is most familiar with your case and can help you understand how survival rates apply to your personal situation.
Here is the latest data available for prostate cancer survivors when looking at all stages:
- Survival rate after five years — 100%
- Survival rate after 10 years — 99%
- Survival rate after 15 years — 94%
When looking at these numbers, remember that survival rates after five years are based on outcomes for patients treated at least five years ago. While survival rates after 10 years are based on outcomes for patients treated at least 10 years ago. Survival rates after 15 years are based on outcomes for patients treated at least 15 years ago.
A Look at the Survival Rate by Stage
The SEER database contains survival statistics for various cancer types collected and maintained by the National Cancer Institute, or NCI. This database categorizes cancers by distant, regional and local stages instead of grouping them by AJCC stage.
The local stage refers to cancer that affects the prostate only. SEER’s local stage corresponds with stages I and II (as determined by the American Joint Committee on Cancer). Approximately four out of five prostate cancer patients receive their diagnosis while in this stage.
Regional stage refers to cancer that has moved into areas near the prostate. This includes prostate cancer at stage III and IV, including cancers that affect nearby lymph nodes and T4 tumors, which have not yet reached other parts of the body farther away from the prostate.
All other stage IV cancers, which are those that have reached other organs, the bones, or distant lymph nodes, are grouped in the distant stage category.
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