Patients Diagnosed With Certain Types Of Cancer Living Longer Than Ever
By Kurtis Bright
Survival Rates Up To Ten Years After Diagnosis Are Now Common
There is just so much bad news out there--seemingly more every day. So every now and then it’s nice to come across something that is genuinely heartening, some nugget of news that is unequivocally positive.
Here goes: for people who develop a few common types of cancer, survival rates are now routinely running to a decade or more following diagnosis.
There was a time when a diagnosis of cancer implied a rush to get one’s affairs in order; today the question is no longer “How long do I have, doc,” so much as “How long do you want?”
For those suffering skin cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer, huge majorities can now expect to live for a minimum of ten years following their diagnosis, according to the latest government surveys.
The likeliest group to still be going strong a decade after diagnosis is those diagnosed with skin cancer, of whom a whopping 89 percent were able to live long enough to reach that milestone, according to figures provided by the U.S. government Office for National Statistics.
For women diagnosed with breast cancer, more than 80 percent of them now survive an additional ten years following their first diagnosis.
A man who suffers from prostate cancer has a ten-year survival rate nearly as high, with 79.9 percent coming in at the decade mark after being diagnosed.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are certain types of cancer diagnoses that still bring very bad news indeed, when it comes to the long-term survival rate of patients. For pancreatic cancer sufferers, only 5.7 percent of those diagnosed survive an additional ten years. And when it comes to lung cancer, the rate is slightly less dire, but still not very hopeful at 9.8 percent. Brain cancer patients only survive to ten years after diagnosis 11.9 percent of the time.
However, the overall improvement in the statistics suggest that ongoing research, treatment possibilities, and earlier diagnoses are all contributing factors resulting in an incremental increase in life expectancy after diagnosis for certain types of cancer but not others.
An example is that 96.4 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2009 and 2013 lived for at least a year after they were diagnosed, whereas 86.7 survived an additional five years. This constitutes the highest rate recorded to date.
It remains a fact that any kind of cancer is still very bad news, of course. However, at least we can take some small comfort in the demonstrable fact that it isn’t an immediate death sentence anymore.