Nasopharyngeal Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival rates for nasopharyngeal cancer by stage

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you decide that you do not want to read about them, skip to the next section.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

Relative survival rates (such as the numbers below) adjust for patients with nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) who die from other causes, such as heart disease. They are considered to be a more accurate way to describe the outlook for patients with a particular type and stage of cancer.

In order to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with NPC.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person's case. Many other factors may affect a person’s outlook, such as their age, overall health, the treatment received, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers above may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your particular situation.

The numbers below were published in 2010 in the 7th edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual and are based on people diagnosed between 1998 and 1999.

    Stage

    Relative 5-year
    survival rates

 

    I

    72%

    II

    64%

    III

    62%

    IV

    38%


Last Medical Review: 09/23/2013
Last Revised: 09/23/2013