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Survival statistics for salivary gland cancer

Survival statistics for salivary gland 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 salivary gland 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 do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

In Canada, a 5-year relative survival statistic is reported for cancer in the major salivary glands. The 5-year relative survival for cancer in the major salivary glands is 73%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with cancer in a major salivary gland are 73% as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

A 5-year relative survival statistic is not available for cancer in the minor salivary glands.

Survival by stage for cancer in a major salivary gland

Survival varies with each stage of cancer in a major salivary gland. The following factors can also affect survival for salivary gland cancer.

  • The grade of the cancer can affect survival. High-grade tumours have a lower survival rate than low-grade tumours.
  • Generally, the earlier salivary gland cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages or types of cancer in a major salivary gland. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.

Survival for cancer in a major salivary gland
Stage5-year relative survival

I

91%

II

75%

III

65%

IV

39%

There are no survival statistics available for cancers in the minor salivary glands.

Questions about survival

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

  • your health history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response 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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