Thyroid Cancer Overview

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival rates for thyroid cancer

Some people with cancer may want to know the survival rates for their type of cancer. Others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. Whether or not you want to read about survival rates is up to you. If you do not want to read about the survival rates for thyroid cancer, 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 found. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

Five-year relative survival rates compare the 5-year survival rate to what would be expected for people without cancer. This helps take into account deaths from causes other than cancer. This is a better way to see the impact that cancer can have on survival.

To get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improved treatments may result in a better outlook for people now being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The numbers were published in 2010 in the 7th edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. They are based on the stage of the cancer when the person is first diagnosed.

Papillary thyroid cancer*

    Stage

    5-Year Relative Survival Rate

 

    I

    Near 100%

    II

    Near 100%

    III

    93%

    IV

    51%

*Based on patients diagnosed 1998 to 1999

Follicular thyroid cancer*

    Stage

    5-Year Relative Survival Rate

 

    I

    Near 100%

    II

    Near 100%

    III

    71%

    IV

    50%

*Based on patients diagnosed 1998 to 1999

Numbers provide an overall picture, but keep in mind that every person is unique and that statistics can’t predict exactly what will happen in your case. Talk with your cancer care team if you have questions about your own chances of a cure, or how long you might survive your cancer. They know your case best.


Last Medical Review: 02/27/2014
Last Revised: 02/27/2014