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Definition of Survival Rate


Updated October 02, 2012


Survival rate is defined as the percent of people who survive a disease such as cancer for a specified amount of time. For example, if the 5-year survival rate for a particular cancer is 34%, this means that 34 out of 100 people initially diagnosed with that cancer would be alive after 5 years. Survival rate does not indicate if a cancer is cured or if treatment is completed.

Another term that is often used when talking about survival rates is median survival. Median survival time is the amount of time after which 50% of people have died, and 50% are still alive.

Lung cancer survival rate by stage:

Keep in mind that survival rates are based on statistics and look at the population as a whole. Your prognosis may be different based on many variables such as your general health, and new treatments that have become available. By the time these rates are published, the statistics are frequently several years old.

Further Reading:

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