The cancers for which the 5-year relative survival rates are the highest are melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, prostate, testicular, cervix and thyroid cancer.
Cancer is a disease that causes cells to grow and multiply out of control in certain parts of the body. It can start in one part of the body and then spread to other areas. Therefore, cancer can have serious repercussions on the surrounding tissues and organs.
Successful treatment can remove all signs of cancer from a person’s body. Doctors describe this as being in remission. However, the cancer can come back after remission, sometimes several years later. Curing cancer would mean the complete eradication of the disease without it coming back. Although it can happen in some people, there is currently no specific treatment for cancer.
Many factors influence the likelihood of successful cancer treatment, including the type of cancer. To understand the differences in outlook between types of cancer, researchers often use a statistic called the 5-year survival rate. This figure refers to the percentage of people who survive for 5 years after cancer diagnosis.
The 5-year survival rate does not indicate whether treatment has eliminated all signs of cancer, but it is useful for comparing the relative severity of different types of cancer. It is important to remember that many other factors influence survival, such as how early doctors detect the disease.
To provide a more accurate estimate of the cancer outlook, doctors can also refer to 5-year relative survival rates. Relative survival rates compare people with a specific disease to those in the general population who do not have that disease. They take into account that other factors may have an impact on survival.
The 7 most curable cancers
Here are the seven cancer types with the highest five-year relative survival rates. These survival rates are mainly for cancers that doctors have diagnosed at an early stage.
1. Breast cancer
The 5-year relative survival rate for stage 0 and 1 breast cancer is 99-100%. Therefore, people with this stage and type of cancer have almost a 100% chance of surviving for at least 5 years than people without it. Stages describe the size and location of the tumor. Stage 0 corresponds to the growth of abnormal cells in the breast tissue or in the lobules of the breast. At this stage, doctors do not consider it cancerous, but it may indicate very early signs of cancer.
Stage 1 breast cancer is characterized by the presence of tiny tumors that:
– usually have a size less than 2 centimeters (cm)
– have not spread to another area of the body.
Doctors can isolate and treat these types of breast cancer before they develop into more serious forms of cancer.
2. Prostate cancer
Prostate cancers have a 99% 5-year relative survival rate in stages 1 and 2. Prostate cancers grow very slowly or do not grow at all, and they are very easy to treat. Prostate cancers that don’t increase in size may not need treatment if doctors don’t consider them dangerous.
3. Testicular cancer
The 5-year relative survival rate for testicular cancer is 99% for localized tumours, i.e. those found in the testicles, and 96% for regional tumours, which have spread to tissues or lymph nodes near the testicles. In the early stages of testicular cancer, doctors may remove one or both testicles to treat the disease. Removal of the testicles is an effective form of treatment. However, it is much less beneficial when the cancer has spread.
4. Thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer has a 5-year relative survival rate of 98-100% in stages 1 and 2. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces the hormones necessary for the body to function properly. Most thyroid cancers grow slowly, allowing more time for treatment. Even when the cancer spreads to the surrounding tissues of the throat, removal of the thyroid gland can be an effective method of eradicating it.
Early detection and treatment of melanoma increases a person’s survival rate. Melanoma has a 5-year relative survival rate of about 92 and 97% in stages 1A and 1B respectively. Melanoma is a skin cancer, and its survival rate is high because it is easy to detect in this part of the body. It is often possible to identify and treat melanoma in the early stages of its progression, increasing a person’s survival rate.
6. Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer has a 5-year relative survival rate of 93% in stages 0 and 1A. Early detection allows doctors to treat abnormally grown cells before they can grow or spread to other parts of the body. Even in the later stages of cervical cancer, cancer cells grow at a very slow rate. Therefore, the treatment may still be effective.
7. Hodgkin lymphoma
Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a 5-year relative survival rate of about 90% in stages 1 and 2. The high relative survival rate of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is because it responds well to radiation therapy. This means that the survival rate remains high for people with more advanced forms of this cancer. In contrast, other types of lymphoma do not respond as well to treatment.
There is currently no cure for cancer. However, successful treatment can cause the cancer to go into remission, which means all signs of it are gone. Detecting and treating cancer early can dramatically improve a person’s chances of remission and future prospects.