Monday, January 25, 2016

Ten Year Cancer Survival Rates

Finally, the first long awaited ten year cancer survival rate study has been completed. In Japan, a group of scientist followed cancer patients diagnosed between 1999 and 2002 for ten years. The results were interesting (in general but also for all us cancer people who have been waiting for this kind of study). Here is the bulk of the results.

"1. Survival rates depend on cancer type
Firstly, the type of cancer a patient was diagnosed with largely determined their chance of survival. Among cancer types studied, patients with thyroid cancer had the best chance of being alive 10 years later at 90.9%. Breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer within the United States, was another standout with a survival rate of 80.4% after 10 years, dipping from a survival rate of 88.7% at the five-year mark. Other generally high marks included uterine and cervical cancers, with 10-year survival rates above 70%, and stomach cancer, with a 10-year survival rate of 69%.

On the flipside, certain cancer types offered very poor long-term survival potential. Cancers of the esophagus, bile duct, and gallbladder all had 10-year survival rates below 30%, and liver cancer survival rates dipped from 32.2% at the five-year mark to just 15.3% at the 10-year mark. As is the case with nearly all broad cancer studies, the difficult-to-treat pancreatic cancer took the dreadful title of lowest 10-year survival rate at just 4.9%.

2. Recurrence rates appear to differ dramatically
Secondly, I believe the data speaks to the idea that certain cancers are far more prone to recurrence, or perhaps secondary cancers, than others.

For example, stomach cancers only saw a very minimal drop-off of 1.9% between the five-year and 10-year results. The implication is that recurrence rates are probably low for this indication. Conversely, liver cancer witnessed a nearly 17% drop-off in survival rates, implying that recurrence rates are considerably higher....

3. Progress is being made

..."Cancer treatment is improving, and the 10-year survival rate of those getting treated now will be even higher."

As a whole, the 10-year survival rate for all cancers was 58.2%, with an obvious trend that showed earlier-stage cancers offered a higher survival potential than late-stage cancers. Specifically, cancers discovered in stage 1 had a five-year survival rate of 90.1% and a 10-year survival rate of 86.3%. In stage 4, survival drops dramatically to just 17.4% at five years and 12.2% at 10 years. Still, without pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and device innovation, I would anticipate both figures being even lower."

I was very happy to read this. I just don't understand why no one else has bothered to run this kind of study. 

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