Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

What are they? How are they determined? What do they mean?

prostate cancer survival

Your five-year relative survival rate if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer will depend on whether or not your cancer is "locally" confined to the prostate gland or has spread to other areas of the body.

Upon receiving the diagnosis of prostate cancer, men naturally want to know the most current prostate cancer survival rates.

Every man’s prognosis or outlook for cancer depends on his overall health, his age, his Gleason score, his prostate cancer stage, the type of treatment he receives, and how his cancer responds to the treatment.

It is impossible to predict exactly how those factors will influence his outlook, but doctors can provide information based on data collected from other men with similar stages of prostate cancer.

This information is usually provided in the form of a five-year prostate cancer survival rate, which means the percentage of men who survive at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed. More specifically, your doctor may provide you with a five-year relative survival rate, which means the percentage of men who survive at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed compared with the survival rate for men without prostate cancer.

The National Cancer Institute tracks information regarding prostate cancer and publishes five-year relative survival rates based on whether the cancer is local (American Joint Committee on Cancer Stages I and II), regional (Stages III and Stage IV that has not spread to distant locations in the body), or distant (Stage IV that has spread to distant locations in the body).

The NCI’s data suggests that local and regional prostate cancer has close to 100 percent five-year relative survival rate. Distant prostate cancer has approximately 28 percent five-year relative survival rate.

It is important to remember, though, that these statistics are based on data from men whose diagnosis and initial treatment occurred more than five years ago. New screening and treatment strategies are constantly being evaluated and some of them are being utilized by doctors potentially rendering these rates somewhat out-dated.

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Helen Boehm Johnson, MD

Helen Boehm Johnson, MD, is a medical writer who brings the experience of a residency-trained physician to her writing. She has written Massachusetts General Hospital’s Combating Memory Loss report (2019, 2020, … Read More

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