Survival rates for prostate cancer
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 would rather not read the survival rates, 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 of these people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).
Five-year relative survival rates, such as the numbers below, assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. This is a better way to see the impact of the cancer on survival.
According to the most recent data, when including all men with prostate cancer:
- The relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%
- The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%
- The 15-year relative survival rate is 93%
Keep in mind that 5-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed and first treated more than 5 years ago, and 10-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed more than 10 years ago. Modern methods of detection and treatment mean that many prostate cancers are now found earlier and can be treated more effectively. If you are diagnosed this year, your outlook may be better than the numbers reported above.
Survival rates by stage
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) maintains a large national database on survival statistics for different types of cancer. This database does not group cancers by AJCC stage, but instead groups cancers into local, regional, and distant stages.
- Local stage means that there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate. This corresponds to AJCC stages I and II. About 4 out of 5 prostate cancers are found in this early stage.
- Regional stage means the cancer has spread from the prostate to nearby areas. This includes stage III cancers and the stage IV cancers that haven't spread to distant parts of the body, such as T4 tumors and cancers that have spread to nearby lymph nodes (N1).
- Distant stage includes the rest of the stage IV cancers – all cancers that have spread to distant lymph nodes, bones, or other organs (M1).
5-year relative survival by stage at the time of diagnosis
5-year relative survival rate
These survival rates are based on previous outcomes of large numbers of men who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular man's case. Many other factors may affect a man's outlook, such as the Gleason score, the PSA, and the man's overall health. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers above may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.
Last Medical Review: 02/27/2012
Last Revised: 05/15/2013