VOLUNTEERS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED IN APRIL
Prognosis and survival for neuroendocrine cancer
People with neuroendocrine cancer may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a person's medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.
A prognosis is the doctor's best estimate of how cancer will affect a person, and how it will respond to treatment. A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together and they both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.
Most neuroendocrine tumours are slow growing and rapid advances in diagnosis and treatment have significantly improved the prognosis. Newer studies have reported 5-year survival rates as high as 77%–95% in malignant neuroendocrine cancers as compared to lower survival rates in the past.
The following are prognostic factors for neuroendocrine cancers.
Neuroendocrine tumours that are localized and have not spread beyond their site of origin have a much more favourable prognosis than tumours that have spread to other sites.
The prognosis or outlook varies based on the site of the neuroendocrine cancer. For example, the survival rate for neuroendocrine tumours of the appendix is 86%–100%. The survival rate drops to 42%–72% for neuroendocrine tumours of the colon and rectum.
Type of tumour
Well-differentiated neuroendocrine cancers have a more favourable prognosis than other poorly differentiated neuroendocrine cancers.
Grade of tumour
Grade I tumours are slow growing and have a better prognosis than aggressive grade III cancers.
Heart valve damage, intestinal obstruction, bile duct obstruction or other complications of a neuroendocrine cancer also influence the outlook.
Establishing a national caregivers strategy
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.