Cancer is a complex and often scary disease that affects millions of people around the world.
However, if you are looking for some good news, there are certain types of cancer that tend to have better outcomes than others. While every single person’s journey with cancer is unique, it is helpful to have some understanding of what cancer is, how it's treated, and what types of cancer have the best outlook.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease characterised by the unrestrained growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Normal cells grow and divide in an orderly way, but cancer cells grow and divide uncontrollably, forming tumours or invading other tissues and organs. There are many different types of cancer, each with its own set of symptoms, treatment options, and prognosis.
Can Cancer Be Cured Completely?
Some of the treatments available include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy. The best treatment for each person depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as other factors such as age, overall health, and personal preferences. In general, when cancer is found early, it's easier to treat and has a better chance of being cured.
Being "cured" of cancer means there's no evidence of the disease and no need for further treatment, but doctors can never be certain that it won't come back. In some cases, doctors may consider a patient cured if they are in complete remission for 5 years or more, although recurrences can still happen even after that time.
Whether or not curative treatment is an option for you, what we do know is that personalisation is key, as there's no one-size-fits-all approach to treating cancer. Instead, doctors must take into account the unique needs and circumstances of each individual patient.
What Are Survival Rates?
Survival rates are a measure of the percentage of people who survive a certain amount of time after their cancer diagnosis or treatment. These rates are influenced by various factors, including the type of cancer, stage of diagnosis, and effectiveness of treatment, as well as an individual's overall health and the aggressiveness of the cancer itself.
Cancer Survival Rates Explained
Survival rates are commonly reported as the percentage of people still alive one (1-year survival rate) or five (5-year survival rate) years after diagnosis or start of treatment.
These statistics can be categorised by individual cancer types, or reported for all cancers together. Despite advances in cancer research and treatment, some types of cancer remain more difficult to diagnose and treat than others. As a result, survival rates can vary widely.
Survival rates are another piece of the puzzle that your doctor will look at when determining your prognosis, and can be used to evaluate treatment success. However, because they are just a comparison to other people with the disease, some people choose to ignore these statistics, as there is no way to know for sure what your individual cancer journey will be.
Which Cancers Are The Most Survivable?
There is no easy or simple cancer to treat. However, certain types of cancer tend to have better outcomes than others, and advances in medical treatments have led to improved survival rates for many types of cancer in recent years.
A cancer's prognosis refers to the likely outcome of the disease, including the chance of survival and the expected quality of life. It could be inferred that a high chance of survival means that the cancer is very treatable. However, survival rates are just one factor in determining treatment and prognosis, and individual experiences can vary depending on variables such as treatment response and overall health.
Another important factor that can affect outcomes is the stage at diagnosis.
For example, melanoma has high survival rates, and this is true for those diagnosed at very early stages. However, if you are diagnosed at even a slightly more advanced stage (i.e., if the melanoma has started spreading) those statistics plummet. This is the reason melanoma is often considered dangerous. While survival rates can provide an indication, much other information is needed when assessing your own situation.
Cancers With High Survival Rates
Survival statistics vary according to the timeframe in which the data was collected, location, and several other factors. This information was based on UK Office for National Statistics data; however your doctor will be able to provide relevant and up to date statistics on the specific type of cancer that you have been diagnosed with, and combine it with treatment options and your individual health information.
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, yet survival rates are promising. The 1-year survival rate is about 96%, the 5-year survival rate around 85%, and the predicted 10-year survival estimate is about 76%.
Prostate cancer ranges from a 1-year survival rate of around 97%, to a 5-year survival rate of about 87%. The 10-year survival estimate is about 77%.
Testicular cancer has a 1-year survival rate of 96% and a 5-year survival rate of over 95%, suggesting that testicular cancer is highly treatable. The predicted 10-year survival estimate is around 91%.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer which affects the lymphatic system. It has a 1-year survival rate of around 90%, and a 5-year survival rate of around 82%. The 10-year survival estimate is 75%.
Thyroid cancer has a 1-year survival rate of 92%. The 5-year survival rate is 89%, and the number remains almost the same for the predicted 10-year survival estimate.
Melanoma of The Skin
Skin Melanoma has a 1-year survival of over 97%, and a 5-year survival rate of 89% (men) or 93% (women). The predicted 10-year survival estimate is about 91% (women) to 83% (men).
Not All Cancers Have Such Promising Statistics
Over the last few years, there have been many improvements in cancer screening and treatments, which have helped to increase survival rates for some types of cancer. However, access to healthcare can differ between areas. Lower-income countries and deprived areas tend to have lower survival rates for cancer.
Pancreatic cancer has a 1-year survival of around 25%, and a 5-year survival rate of under 9%. Late-stage pancreatic cancer has even poorer survival statistics. An aspect of the problem is that patients with this cancer often only notice symptoms when it has spread to other organs, making early detection difficult.
Lung cancer does not have a very good prognosis, despite being one of the most common types of cancer. The 1-year survival rate is around 44% (women) or 37% (men), but the five-year survival rate is only around 14% (men) or 19% (women). The predicted 10-year survival estimates are around 7% (men) and 11% (women).
Liver cancer has a 1-year survival rate of 40% (men) or 35% (women), which drops to a 5-year survival rate of about 14% (men) or 11% (women).
Can Cancer Be Treated Successfully?
As cancer is a complex and varied disease, there is no single "most successful" cancer to treat. Some types of cancer have a better prognosis than others, but survival rates are based on averages and don't necessarily predict what will happen to a specific individual. Every cancer is unique, and factors such as age, overall health, and the specific characteristics of the cancer can all influence a person's prognosis.
Nevertheless, with early detection and proper treatment, many types of cancer can be successfully managed or even cured. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options and the potential outcomes.