Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cancer Survival Rates--Look at The Bright Side!


If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and are understandably in a "why me?" state of mind, consider this: breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates of any cancer. About 83% of breast cancer survivors are still alive and kicking after five years. Those are odds pretty good if you ask me.

Even prostate cancer--which is a highly treatable cancer among men--doesn't have as favorable a prognosis, with a 76% survival rate after five years. Skin cancer is the best cancer to have with global survival rates of 85%. Lung cancer patients, however, are not so lucky. Those diagnosed with this aggressive disease only have a 10% survival rate after five years.

Here is an excerpt from Disabled World News breaking down survival rates by cancer type.

Survival percentages"In the past, cancer was considered to be fatal. However, nowadays it has come to be recognised as a curable illness", Chirlaque points out. "Testimony to this is the results shown in this study, which indicate that of every four people who suffer from it (with the exception of lung cancer), more than three overcome it".

  1. Breast cancer, the most common tumour in women, presents a high survival percentage: 83% of patients have survived this type of cancer after five years.
  2. Lung cancer is one of the most aggressive tumours and survival after five years is very low: only 10% of patients diagnosed with a malignant neoplasm survive for more than five years.
  3. Colorectal cancer (of the colon and rectum), the most common malignant tumour if we group men and women together, presents an average survival rate of 50-55% five years after diagnosis, meaning that half the patients survive this form of cancer.
  4. Prostate cancer, today the most common tumour in men, has an increasingly favourable prognosis, with a global survival rate of 76%, which is higher in young adults.
  5. Ovarian cancer presents a very varied prognosis depending on age: whilst 70% of the group between 15 and 44 years survives this form of cancer, this is the case for only 19% of those over 74 years-old.
  6. Testicular cancer, a rare malignant tumour that mainly affects middle-aged males, is the tumour with the best prognosis, with a 95% survival rate five years after diagnosis.
  7. Skin melanoma displays one of the highest survival rates, reaching values over 85%, although there are European countries where recovery exceeds 90%.
  8. Hodgkin's lymphoma displays high recovery with survival greater than 92% amongst young people, although amongst elderly groups it fails to reach 50%.


The point of this survival rate suvey is to remind all of us breast cancer survivors that it could be a hell of a lot worse. A former colleague of mine, Melissa, was only 26 years old at the time she was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago--only six months before my breast cancer diagnosis. As I write this, Melissa is laying in the ICU unit of Yale Smilow Cancer Hospital with a breathing tube stuck in her mouth. Her twin sister Lindsay is heartbroken as she implores everyone on her Facebook network to pray for her ill sibiling.

Today I am running around with a full head of hair, 100% percent back to normal. But Melissa is struggling--with every labored breath she takes--to stay alive. Her cancer spread to her brain five years ago too. She has had so many radiation treatments on her head, much of her hair will never grow back again. Melissa has been wearing wigs the entire time she has been sick. Just so you know, Melissa was not a smoker. Lung cancer just happened to choose her.

So if you just found out you have breast cancer, look at the bright side. More than likely, you will survive. And please say a prayer for Melissa who was not so lucky.


Bibliographical reference:
 Chirlaque MD, Salmerón D, Ardanaz E, Galcerán J, Martínez R, Marcos-Grágera R, Sánchez MJ, Mateos A, Torrella A, Capocaccia R, Navarro C. "Cancer survival in Spain: estimate for nine major cancers". Annals of Oncology; 21 Suppl 3:iii21-29, May 2010. DOI: doi:10.1093/annonc/mdq082.

Citation: Disabled World News (2010-07-15) - The probability percentage rate of surviving different types of cancer: http://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/cancer-survival-rate.php#ixzz2Ca4Z5grj

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