Cancer Prognosis

It is possible to cure cancer today.

In 2007, approximately 25% of all deaths (155,000) in the UK were due to cancer, and almost half of these were due to lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers.

However, encouragingly, cancer mortality rates dropped by nearly 20% between 1978 and 2007.

Individual cancers

Cancer survival obviously depends on how early your cancer is diagnosed and treated. Your specialist will inform you of your individual statistics but some examples are listed below:
  • Breast cancer: due to early diagnosis and national breast screening in the UK, breast cancer mortality decreases and survival time increases by a small percentage every year. However, it remains the most deadly cancer for woman.
  • Lung cancer: fewer deaths by lung cancer in males, but more in women. Smoking remains the main risk factor.
  • Cervical cancer: the national screening programme has decreased the numbers of women affected as well as mortality rates as it is being caught earlier.
  • Bowel cancer: Bowel cancer prognosis depends on how advanced your cancer is at the time of diagnosis. This is referred to as the Dukes criteria which your specialist will explain further. Bowel cancer is being diagnosed earlier before symptoms start due to national screening programme, and this will hopefully improve cancer rates.
  • Skin cancer/melanoma: the skin cancer cure rates are very high for the non-melanomatous types. The prognosis of melanoma depends on the stage of the cancer and is determined by the Breslow or the Clark scale and will be explained further by your specialist.
  • Prostate cancer: prognosis depends on PSA level and Gleeson score (stage of prostate cancer). Screening is thought to identify cancers early and hence hopefully reduce mortality.

5 or 10 year Survival Rates

The 5 or 10 year survival rates give the chances that the patient is still alive 5 or 10 years after the cancer was first diagnosed.

Remember, your specialist will be able to give you your individual survival rate and/or prognosis.
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