Cervical Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rates
If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, you may have questions about how serious the cancer is and your chances of survival. The likely outcome or course of a disease is called prognosis.
The prognosis for cervical cancer depends on many factors:
- the stage of the cancer (the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread beyond the cervix)
- the type of cervical cancer (adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma)
- your age and general health
- whether you have other health problems or diseases, including if you are immunocompromised or have HIV
- whether the cancer is newly diagnosed or has recurred (come back)
Survival rates for cervical cancer
Doctors estimate cervical cancer prognosis by using statistics collected over many years from people with cervical cancer. One statistic that is commonly used in making a prognosis is the 5-year relative survival rate. The 5-year relative survival rate tells you what percent of people with the same type and stage of cervical cancer are alive 5 years after their cancer was diagnosed, compared with people in the overall population. For example, the 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer diagnosed at an early stage is 91%. This means that people diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer are 91% as likely as people who do not have cervical cancer to be alive 5 years after diagnosis. The 5-year relative survival rates for cervical cancer are as follows:
- When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 91%.
- When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 60%.
- When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 19%.
- The 5-year relative survival rate for all people with cervical cancer is 67%.
Understanding survival rate statistics
Because prognosis statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to you. The doctor who knows the most about your situation is in the best position to discuss these statistics and talk with you about your prognosis. It is important to note the following when reviewing survival statistics:
- No two people are entirely alike, and responses to treatment can vary greatly.
- Survival statistics use information collected from large groups of people who may have received different types of treatment.
- It takes several years to see the effect of newer and better treatments, so these effects may not be reflected in current survival statistics.
To learn more about survival statistics and to see videos of patients and their doctors exploring their feelings about prognosis, see Understanding Cancer Prognosis.