Survival Rates for Lung Carcinoid Tumors

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 people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

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 now being diagnosed.

Overall, the 5-year survival rate for patients with typical lung carcinoids is around 85% to 90%, and the 5-year survival rate for patients with atypical lung carcinoids is around 50% to 70%. These ranges reflect different survival rates quoted by several different studies in medical journals.

Lung carcinoids are uncommon tumors, so it’s hard to get accurate, up-to-date survival statistics for these cancers based on stage. The numbers below come from a study of more than 1,400 people in the United States who were diagnosed with lung carcinoid tumors between 1990 and 2002 and were treated with surgery. They include some people who died from causes other than their cancer.

Stage

5-year Survival Rate

I

93%

II

85%

III

75%

IV

57%

These numbers include people with both typical and atypical carcinoids, but survival rates would be expected to be slightly better for typical carcinoids and not as good overall for atypical carcinoids.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Many factors can affect a person’s outlook, such as the type of treatment used, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and their general health. Your doctor is familiar with your situation and can probably tell you how the numbers above might apply to you.

Even with carcinoids that appear to have been treated successfully, in a small number of cases the cancer can come back (recur) many years later, which is why doctors often advise close follow-up for at least 10 years.

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: February 5, 2015 Last Revised: February 24, 2016

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