Cervical cancer survival rate

Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix, is a rare but potentially deadly cancer that strikes as many as 12,200 women in the United States annually. Furthermore, an estimated 4,210 women will succumb to the disease each year.

In the history of 20th century cancer research and advocacy, cervical cancer plays an important role; first in the development of early screening tests thanks largely to the Pap smear, which can identify pre-cancerous cells in the cervix; and later, in the development of the Gardasil vaccine, which vaccinates young women against some of the more common types of HPV, a known cause of cervical cancer. As such, these achievements remain among the great breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.

Incidence and mortality of cervical cancer

The median age of diagnosis with cervical cancer is 48, and for those women who succumb to the disease, the median age at death for cervical cancer is 57.

Cervical cancer survival rates by stage

Not unlike many cancers, survival rates for cervical cancer typically depend on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. For some cancers, the stage is important in determining survival rates, but treatment successes have evened the playing field a bit. That is not really the case with cervical cancer: Women whose disease is localized at diagnosis have an excellent prognosis and a 5 year relative survival rate of almost 91%, meaning that about 9 of every 10 women diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer are expected to be alive five years after diagnosis. However, that figure drops sharply if the disease has spread even locally, to nearby lymph nodes. And if metastatic, the survival rate plummets to under 20 percent:

  • -- Localized disease: 90.9%
  • -- Regional disease: 57.0%
  • -- Metastatic disease: 18.7%
  • -- Stage unknown: 53.7%

Prior to the development of the Pap smear, cervical cancer was endured in silence by thousands of woman every year and was often as good as a death sentence. The advances made against this cancer should serve as an inspiration to researchers and advocates everywhere that while an outright cure would be nice, there are other equally as fantastic paths to conquering this disease.


National Cancer Institute SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Cervical cancer


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