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Survival Rates for Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Ask your doctor how these numbers might apply to you.

What is a 5-year relative survival rate?

A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumor to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of GI carcinoid tumor 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.

Where do these numbers come from?

The American Cancer Society relies on information from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for GI carcinoid tumors in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc.). Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:

  • Localized: The cancer has not spread beyond the wall of the organ it started in (for example, the stomach, small intestine, or rectum).
  • Regional: The cancer has either spread to nearby lymph nodes, or it has grown through the wall of the organ where it started and into nearby tissues such as fat, ligaments, and muscle (or both).
  • Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver or bones.

    5-year relative survival rates for GI carcinoid tumors

    (These numbers are based on people diagnosed with grade 1 or 2 GI carcinoid tumors [stomach, small intestine, colon, appendix, cecum and rectum] between 2012 and 2018.)

    SEER* Stage 5-Year Relative Survival Rate
    Localized 97%
    Regional 96%
    Distant 68%
    All SEER stages combined 94%

    *SEER= Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results

    Understanding the numbers

    • These numbers apply only to the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. They do not apply later on if the cancer grows, spreads, or comes back after treatment.
    • These numbers don’t take everything into account. Survival rates are grouped based on how far the cancer has spread, but your age, organ the tumor started in, overall health, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and other factors can also affect your outlook.
    • People now being diagnosed with a GI carcinoid tumor may have a better outlook than these numbers show. Treatments improve over time, and these numbers are based on people who were diagnosed and treated at least five years earlier.

    The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

    Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

    SEER*Explorer: An interactive website for SEER cancer statistics [Internet]. Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute. Accessed at https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/ on February 23, 2023.

    Last Revised: March 1, 2023

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