Survival Rates for Stomach Cancer, by Stage

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). 

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 (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 with stomach cancer.

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 other factors may affect a person’s outlook, such as their general health, the location of the cancer in the stomach, the treatment received, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Your doctor can tell you how these survival rates may apply to you.

The survival rates that follow come from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database and were published in 2010 in the 7th edition of the AJCC Staging Manual. They are based on people diagnosed with stomach cancer and treated with surgery between 1991 and 2000. 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 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.

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

    Stage

    5 year
    observed
    survival

    Stage IA

    71%

    Stage IB

    57%

    Stage IIA

    46%

    Stage IIB

    33%

    Stage IIIA

    20%

    Stage IIIB

    14%

    Stage IIIC

    9%

    Stage IV

    4%

The overall 5-year relative survival rate of all people with stomach cancer in the United States is about 29%. 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.

Last Medical Review: May 20, 2014 Last Revised: February 10, 2016

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