Survival Rates for Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

Survival rates tell you what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain length of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. These numbers 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. Some people will want to know the survival rates for their cancer type and stage, and some people won’t.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates, but many people live longer – often much longer – than 5 years. The 5-year survival rate gives the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 90% means that an estimated 90 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.

Relative survival rates are a more accurate way to estimate the effect of cancer on survival. These rates compare people with cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type and stage of cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

But remember, the 5-year relative survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.

Also, people who have this cancer can die from something else, not the cancer. These survival rates, called observed survival rates, do not take this into account.

Cancer survival rates don’t tell the whole story

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. There are a number of limitations to remember:

  • The numbers below are among the most current available. But to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments are improving over time, people who are now being diagnosed with GI carcinoid tumor may have a better outlook than these statistics show.
  • These statistics are based on the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that come back later or spread, for example.
  • Besides the cancer stage, many other factors can affect a person's outlook, such as age and overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.

Your doctor can tell you how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

Gastrointestinal carcinoid survival rates

Most GI carcinoid tumors are found while they are still localized, but this varies based on the organ they start in. Tumors of the stomach, duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), appendix, and rectum are likely to be found before they have spread. In contrast, many tumors of other parts of the small intestine (the jejunum/ileum) and the colon (including the cecum) have already spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes or to distant sites when they are first diagnosed.

These statistics come from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program. SEER does not separate these cancers by AJCC stage, but instead puts them into 3 groups: localized, regional, and distant. Localized is like AJCC stage I. Regional includes stages II and III. Distant means the same as stage IV.

The following 5-year survival rates are based on people diagnosed with GI carcinoid tumors (grade 1 and grade 2 ) between 1988 and 2004. It is important to note that these are observed survival rates. People with cancer can die of other things, and these rates do not take that into account.

5-year observed survival rates for carcinoid tumors

Site

Localized

Regional

Distant

Stomach

73%

65%

25%

Duodenum

68%

55%

46%

Jejunum/ileum

65%

71%*

54%

Cecum

68%

71%*

54%

Appendix

88%

78%

25%

Colon

85%

46%

14%

Rectum

90%

62%

24%

*The 5-year survival for these tumors at the regional stage is slightly better than for the localized stage, although the reason for this is not exactly clear.

More recent 5-year relative survival rates for people diagnosed between 2008 to 2014 with grade 1 and 2 GI carcinoid tumors (stomach, small intestine, colon, appendix, cecum and rectum) are seen below.

Localized 96%
Regional 95%
Distant 69%

 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (www.seer.cancer.gov) SEER*Stat Database: Incidence - SEER 18 Regs Research Data + Hurricane Katrina Impacted Louisiana Cases, Nov 2017 Sub (2000-2015) <Katrina/Rita Population Adjustment> - Linked To County Attributes - Total U.S., 1969-2016 Counties, National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, released April 2018, based on the November 2017 submission.

Yao JC, Hassan M, Phan A, et al. One hundred years after "carcinoid": epidemiology of and prognostic factors for neuroendocrine tumors in 35,825 cases in the United States. J Clin Oncol. 2008; 26:3063–3072.

Last Medical Review: September 24, 2018 Last Revised: September 24, 2018

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