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. They 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.
Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) includes many different cancer types, so it’s hard to provide meaningful survival statistics for these cancers as a group. In general, these are difficult cancers for several reasons:
When all types of CUP are included, the average survival time is about 9 to 12 months after diagnosis. But this can vary widely depending on many factors, including the cancer cell type, where the cancer is found, how far the cancer has spread, a person’s general health, the treatments received, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.
Survival statistics can sometimes be useful as a general guide, but they may not accurately represent any one person’s prognosis (outlook). This is because 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 is familiar with your situation; ask how these numbers may apply to you.
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.
Last Revised: March 9, 2018