Survival rates tell you what portion of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. These numbers can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful. Some people will want to know the survival rates for their cancer type and stage, and some people won’t. If you don’t want to know, you don’t have to.
What is a 5-year survival rate?
Statistics on the outlook for a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates, but many people live longer – often much longer – than 5 years. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 50% means that an estimated 50 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. Keep in mind, however, that many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis.
Relative survival rates are a more accurate way to estimate the effect of cancer on survival. These rates compare people with cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type and stage of cancer is 50%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 50% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
But remember, survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.
Survival rates don’t tell the whole story
Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.
The survival rates below are based on the stage of the cancer at the time it was diagnosed. These rates do not apply to cancers that have come back after treatment or have spread after treatment starts.
The numbers below come from the National Cancer Data Base as published in the AJCC Staging Manual in 2010, and are based on people diagnosed between 2000 and 2002.
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage 0 endometrial cancer is 90%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IA endometrial cancer is 88%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IB endometrial cancer is 75%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage II endometrial cancer is 69%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IIIA endometrial cancer is 58%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IIIB endometrial cancer is 50%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IIIC endometrial cancer is 47%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IVA endometrial cancer is 17%
- The 5-year survival rate for women with stage IVB endometrial cancer is 15%
The statistics for uterine carcinosarcoma are different from those given for endometrial adenocarcinoma in some important ways.
- The numbers given are for 5-year relative survival. These rates assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. This can better show the impact of a particular type and stage of cancer on survival. Relative survival is generally higher than observed survival.
- These numbers come from a different source -- the SEER program from the National Cancer Institute.
- The stages listed are based on an older version of staging. In the most recent staging system, some of the cancers that were stage III might actually be considered stage I or II.
These differences in staging may make it more difficult to apply these numbers to your situation.
- The 5-year relative survival rate for stage I uterine carcinosarcoma is 70%
- The 5-year relative survival rate for stage II uterine carcinosarcoma is 45%
- The 5-year relative survival rate for stage III uterine carcinosarcoma is 30%
- The 5-year relative survival rate for stage IV uterine carcinosarcoma is 15%
Last Revised: 02/29/2016