Nasopharyngeal cancer

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Survival statistics for nasopharyngeal cancer

Survival statistics for nasopharyngeal cancer 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.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for nasopharyngeal cancer and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex) but do not have cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year relative survival for nasopharyngeal cancer is 60%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer are 60% as likely to live at least 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population. But people with nasopharyngeal cancer may live much longer than 5 years.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of nasopharyngeal cancer.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is often aggressive, so it may grow and spread quickly. Generally, the earlier nasopharyngeal cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. But often nasopharyngeal cancer is not found until it is at an advanced stage, which can make it harder to treat.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of nasopharyngeal cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources. It may include statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Nasopharyngeal cancer survival
Stage5-year relative survival









Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

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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