Survival Rates for Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers by Stage

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). Some people 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 do not want to know the survival statistics for laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers, stop reading here.

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.

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 more accurate way to describe the prognosis for patients with a certain type and stage of cancer.

To get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a better outlook for people diagnosed with these cancers today.

The rates below are based on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. When looking at survival rates, it’s important to understand that the stage of a cancer does not change over time, even if the cancer progresses. A cancer that comes back or spreads is still referred to by the stage it was given when it was first found and diagnosed, but more information is added to explain the current extent of the cancer. (And of course, the treatment plan is adjusted based on the change in the cancer.)

These numbers are from the National Cancer Data Base, based on patients diagnosed in 1998-1999, and published in 2010 in the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Seventh Edition. (See References: Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer.) For laryngeal cancers, survival rates differ based on which part of the larynx the cancer started in (supraglottis, glottis, or subglottis).

Supraglottis (part of the larynx above the vocal cords)

Stage

5-year relative survival rate

I

59%

II

59%

III

53%

IV

34%

Glottis (part of the larynx including the vocal cords)

Stage

5-year relative survival rate

I

90%

II

74%

III

56%

IV

44%

Subglottis (part of the larynx below the vocal cords)

(These numbers are less accurate because of the very small number of patients.)

Stage

5-year relative survival rate

I

65%

II

56%

III

47%

IV

32%

Hypopharynx

Stage

5-year relative survival rate

I

53%

II

39%

III

36%

IV

24%

Survival rates are based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any one person’s case. Many other factors can affect a person’s outlook, such as their general health and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers above apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation. If you have any questions about the stage of your cancer or how it affects your treatment, do not hesitate to ask your doctor.

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.

Last Medical Review: November 27, 2017 Last Revised: November 27, 2017

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