Stage Four Cancer Life Expectancy

By Holly Huntington

When someone is diagnosed with cancer of any type, the doctor usually provides a numerical stage number. Stage 1 is the least invasive type of cancer and is generally considered to be an early stage. Hence, stage 4 is just the opposite, normally describing cancers that are rather invasive or progressed. Therefore, stage 4 cancers are generally discussed in conjunction with anticipated life expectancy questions.

Lowest Stage 4 Cancer Life Expectancy by Type

In a study conducted by the U.S. Seer Program entitled "Cancer Survival

Among Adults," all cancer types were compared to see which had the lowest five-year life expectancy rates once they reached stage 4 status. Pancreatic cancer had the lowest five-year life expectancy rate, a mere 4.4 survival percentage. Close behind, at 7.2 percent, was mesothelioma. Liver cancer had the third-lowest life expectancy rate (10.2 percent), followed by esophagus cancer, with a 13.8 percent five-year life expectancy probability. Stage 4 cancer life expectancy is dramatically low in these types of cancers.

Highest Stage 4 Cancer Life Expectancy by Type

Stage 4 testes cancer had the highest five-year survival rate (95.5 percent) in the aforementioned study. Stage 4 thyroid cancer, at 93.9 percent, came in second-highest in life expectancy, and both the stage 4 lip and endocrine cancers tied for third place with a 91 percent survival rate. Fortunately for patients with these types of cancers, stage 4 cancer life expectancy is reasonably optimistic.

Highest Life Expectancy for Stage 4 Cancers by Race

Whites, with a rate of 95.8 percent, had the highest five-year cancer life expectancy recorded. Blacks came in second with a survival rate score of 94.7 percent for Stage 4 non-epithelial skin cancers. And third place went to Asians, with a 94.0 percent five-year survival rate for stage 4 thyroid cancer. However, this study did not include data from other races; therefore, these stage 4 cancer statistics are based solely on the races represented.

Lowest Expectancy Rate for Stage 4 Cancers by Race

The stage 4 cancer with the lowest cancer life expectancy rate for all three races represented in the U.S. SEER Program Study was pancreatic cancer (with whites at 4.4 percent, blacks at 4.4 percent and Asians at 4.8 percent).

Significance

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) is a program of the NCI (National Cancer Institute). This study about cancer life expectancy five-year survival rates for stage 4 cancers was produced from data compiled regarding cancers diagnosed between 1988 and 2001. It was comprised of adults 20 years of age and older (with the exception of leukemia, lymphoma and placenta cancers, which comprised individuals of younger ages).

The overall stage 4 cancer life expectancy rates were highest for white patients, at a 65 percent five-year survival rate, and lowest for Asians, at 54 percent. Surprisingly, the four most predominantly diagnosed stage 4 cancers during that period (lung/bronchial, breast, colon/rectum and prostate) were not reflected in the highest or lowest five-year survival rates.

References

About the Author

Holly Huntington's writing has been published online by eHow.

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