Stomach Cancer Survival Rates

Survival rates tell you what portion 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 might help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for people with 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 is 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 stomach 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.

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 stomach cancer 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 your situation.

Stomach cancer survival rates, by stage

These survival rates come from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) and were published in 2017 in the 8th edition of the AJCC Staging Manual. They are based on people diagnosed with stomach cancer and treated with surgery between 2004 and 2008. Survival rates for patients not treated with surgery are likely to be lower. It is also 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.

The 5-year survival rates by stage for stomach cancer treated with surgery are as follows:

Stage

5 year
observed
survival

Stage IA

94%

Stage IB

88%

Stage IIA

82%

Stage IIB

68%

Stage IIIA

54%

Stage IIIB

36%

Stage IIIC

18%

The overall 5-year relative survival rate of all people with stomach cancer in the United States is about 31%. The 5-year relative survival rate compares the observed survival of people with stomach cancer to that expected for people without stomach cancer. Since some people may die from other causes, this is a better way to see the impact of cancer on survival.

This survival rate has improved gradually over the last 30 years. One reason the overall survival rate is poor in the United States is that most stomach cancers are diagnosed at an advanced rather than an early stage. The stage of the cancer has a major effect on a patient’s prognosis (outlook for survival).

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.

American Joint Committee on Cancer. Stomach Cancer. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 8th ed. New York, NY: Springer; 2017: 117–121. 

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.

Last Medical Review: December 18, 2017 Last Revised: December 18, 2017

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