Dr. Sanket Mehta


What is Survival rate?

What is Survival rate?

What is Survival rate: Survival rate is a statistics that tells you, what percentage of people, with a certain type of cancer, survive for a specific amount of time.

Survival rates are usually represented in percentages and are usually described in a given length of time. For eg.,

1 year survival rate 5 year survival rate 10 year survival.

The most commonly used length of time is the 5-year survival rate.

A 5-year survival rate is the number of people who are alive 5 years after they were diagnosed with a certain type of cancer or started treatment for that cancer.

In other words, If the 5-year survival rate for a specific type of cancer is, say cervical cancer in women is about 66%, it would mean that around 66 of every 100 women with cervical cancer will be alive 5 years after the initial diagnosis of the cancer. Conversely it would also mean that around 34 of those 100 women will not live beyond 5 years.

The 5- year survival rate is also calculated according to the stages of a specific cancer.

For eg, the 5- year survival rate for early stage lung cancer is around 56%, whereas the 5- year survival rate for late stage lung cancer is just 5%.

Other types of Survival rates which give a specific information are:

after cancer treatment without any signs or symptoms of the cancer

  • Progression free survival: This shows the number of people who still have cancer, but the disease is not progressing.
  • Median survival: Median survival is the length of time after which 50% of the people have died and 50% have survived. Relative survival rate: This gives the percentage of people who have not died of a particular cancer after a certain length of time. It does not include people who have died of other diseases or other causes.
  • Disease free survival rate: The length of time, people live
    What can Survival rates tell you and what it cant…
    Each and everybody is different and survival rates can in no way paint an accurate picture of your future. At best a survival rate is an educated guess and a prediction, it is by no means a definite figure. It is an estimate of how your disease may progress, and predict the chances of your getting cured as well as recurrence. Also it can help your doctor select the best treatment option for you in terms of choosing better quality of life treatment option with lower side effects is your survival rate is low vs aggressive treatment at the cost of more side effects if your chances of survival are more.
    Your actual Survival depends on a lot of different factors such as
    For eg, if you are relatively young and in good overall health, your chances of survival and subsequent cure are far more than someone who is old and in poor health.
    Also since survival rates such as 5 or 10 year survival rates, take years to collect, they do not include the latest treatments. Cancer treatment is getting better and more effective with each passing day. Hence your chance of beating the survival rate percentages are much better now as compared to few years ago.
    Its your choice: In the end, its completely your decision whether you want to the completely ignore survival rate statistics or just use it as a guideline to get an idea about possible future course. But even if you do want to know about it, remember one thing – don’t read too much into it and get scared. Everybody is capable of beating the worst of odds and emerging victorious. You are much more than a statistics.
    your overall health
    your age
    Your comorbidities
    your cancer type
    Your response to treatment

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