Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer

Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage 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. Thee rates can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.

What is a 5-year relative survival rate?

A relative survival rate compares men with the same type and stage of prostate cancer to men in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of prostate cancer is 90%, it means that men who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as men who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Where do these numbers come from?

The American Cancer Society relies on information from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for prostate cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc.). Instead it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages.

  • Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside the prostate.
  • Regional: The cancer has spread outside the prostate to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
  • Distant: The cancer has spread to parts of the body farther from the prostate, such as the lungs, liver, or bones.

Prostate cancer 5-year relative survival rates

These numbers are based on men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2008 and 2014.

SEER Stage

5-year Relative Survival Rate

Localized

Nearly 100%

Regional

Nearly 100%

Distant

30%

All SEER stages combined

98%

Understanding the numbers

  • These numbers apply only to the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. They do not apply later on if the cancer grows, spreads, or comes back after treatment.
  • These numbers don’t take everything into account. Survival rates are grouped based on how far the cancer has spread, but your age, overall health, test results such as the PSA level and Grade Group of the cancer, how well the cancer responds to treatment, PSA level, grade group, and other factors can also affect your outlook.
  • Men now being diagnosed with prostate cancer may have a better outlook than these numbers show. Treatments improve over time, and these numbers are based on men who were diagnosed and treated at least five years earlier.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2019.

Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2018.

Last Medical Review: August 1, 2019 Last Revised: August 1, 2019

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