CCS adapting to COVID-19 realities to support Canadians during and after the pandemic
Survival statistics for oral cancer
Survival statistics for oral 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 oral cancer and what they mean to you.
Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.
In Canada, the 5-year net survival for oral (mouth) cancer is 64%. This means that about 64% of people diagnosed with oral cancer will survive for at least 5 years.
Survival by stage of tumour
Survival varies with each stage of oral cancer. Generally, the earlier oral cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
There are effective treatments available for oral cancer and it often responds well to cancer treatment. But smoking during radiation therapy reduces the effectiveness of treatment and lowers survival rates compared to people who stop smoking or don’t smoke.
Survival by stage and location of oral cancer is reported as 5-year 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).
There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages and locations of oral 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.
|Stage||Lip||Tongue||Floor of mouth|
Early stage or localized (stage 1 or 2)
Locally advanced or regional (stage 3, 4A or 4B)
Metastatic (stage 4C)
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.