The mouth of the uterus is called the ‘cervix’ and malignant growth of cells at the cervical area is called ‘cervical cancer’. This article provides information on cervical cancer survival rates. Read on to know how the rates vary according to the age, race of the woman and stage of the cancer.
Cervix is the lowest narrow end of the uterus. Cervix is internally connected to the upper vagina. When cervical cells undergo certain changes called dysplasia, abnormal cells are noticed in the cervical tissue. Growth of cancerous cells in the cervix and the surrounding area is termed as cervical cancer. It is the second most common cancer in women. Women belonging to the age group 40-55 are more likely to develop cervical cancer. More than 11,000 women in United States are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year. Infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), multiple sexual partners, early sexual contact, smoking, consumption of birth control pills are some of the causes of cervical cancer. HPV infection is the major risk factor for this cancer. Pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding between the periods, bleeding after menopause, longer and heavier menstrual periods, are some of the symptoms of cancer of the cervix.
The five year rate of survival refers to the percentage of cancer patients, who live at least five years after the diagnosis of cancer. Many patients live much longer than five years. Five year rates are generated to determine a standard way of discussing the prognosis or outlook for survival. These survival rates are not the means to decide what will happen to a particular patient after certain years. The rate of growth of cancer, overall physical health, strong mental health, treatment, response to the treatment, stage of cancer when diagnosed, how much it has spread, will vary from woman to woman. Each cancer case is unique.
Survival Rates for Different Stages of the Cancer
Survival of women diagnosed with cervical cancer strongly depends upon the ‘stage at diagnosis’. The life expectancy of a cancer patient increases significantly when the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage or when it is in localized form (the growth of cancer is restricted to the local area only, confined to the cervix). The rate of survival for woman at different stages of cancer would be different. Five year survival rate for women, diagnosed at the earliest stage is around 93%. The rates drop substantially when the cancer is diagnosed at a later stage. A five year rate of survival of around 56% is observed in women diagnosed for cervical cancer at regional stage, (the cancer has spread beyond the cervix into surrounding tissues, or to nearby lymph nodes). Women diagnosed at advanced stage, when the cancer has spread into other parts of the body, have a five year survival rate of around 17%.
Relative Survival Rates
The most recent statistics for cervical cancer in the Unite States, declared by ‘The American Cancer Society’, for 2009, states that, the 5-year relative survival rate for the earliest stage of invasive cervical cancer is 92%, while the overall (all stages combined) 5-year rate of survival for the cancer is about 71%. About 11,270 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are likely to be diagnosed and about 4,070 women are likely to die from this cancer. Studies show that non-invasive cancer (carcinoma in situ) is about 4 times more common than the invasive one. Cervical cancer survival rates vary according to the race, age, type of treatment, stage at the time of diagnosis, etc.
Race: Cervical cancer occurs most often in Hispanic women, in the United States, at a rate which is more than double the rate, seen in non-Hispanic white women. The chances of development of this cancer for African-American women are said to be 50% more than the non-Hispanic white women. It is observed, that non-Hispanic black women have poorer survival rate at every stage of diagnosis.
Age: Cervical cancer occurs mostly in midlife, in women younger than 50. It is rarely found in women younger than 20. It is important for older women to continue having regular Pap tests, as almost 20% of women with this cancer are diagnosed when they are 65 or over 65, and they have poorer survival rates regardless of stage at the time of diagnosis.
Survival Rates: Comparison
In the United States, only 50 percent of women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer live beyond five years. Ovarian cancer survival rates are relatively lower than the cervical cancer survival rates. The 5 year relative survival rate for white woman is around 45% while it is around 40% for black woman.
Relative 5-year survival rates by stage for endometrial adenocarcinoma (type of uterus cancer) are 99% for stage IA, while they are 30% for stage IV. Relative 5-year survival rates for uterine carcinosarcoma are 70% for stage I and 15% for stage IV.
The relative five year survival rate for vaginal cancer, diagnosed at stage I is 68% and for stage IV is 20%.
For American women, cervical cancer was once, one of the most common causes of death. Between 1955 and 1992, the death rate for this cancer started declining and ultimately, the rate has declined by about 74%. The main reason for the increase in cervical cancer cure rates was the increased use of the Pap test, which is a screening procedure that helps find changes in the cervix before the cancer develops. It can detect the cancer in the earliest stage, which is said to be the most curable stage. The death rate of cervical cancer now continues to decline by nearly 4% every year. We should thank the modern scientists and researchers for all modern technologies and research in the field of cancer treatment and medicines.