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Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) means that the cancer has already spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body when it is found. When doctors can’t find the primary cancer, it is hard for them to know which treatments will be the most effective. Both of these factors affect survival.
There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. But CUP includes many different types of cancer, which makes it hard to get accurate survival statistics.
Survival statistics for CUP are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival. In general, people who are diagnosed with CUP have a poor prognosis. Your doctor can explain the statistics for CUP and what they mean to you.
There are no specific Canadian statistics available for CUP. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.
Survival statistics for CUP are often reported as median survival. Median survival is the period of time (usually months or years) at which half the people diagnosed with CUP are still alive. The other half will live less than this amount of time.
Talk to your doctor about prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:
Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.
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