Thursday, 18 June 2009

understanding nose cancer : survival rates

People often equate cancer with death. This is not surprising as cancer is the Number One killer in Singapore, with heart diseases in second place. Out of 17,140 deaths reported in Singapore in 2007, 27.7% died of cancer while 19.8% died of heart diseases (source : Ministry of Health Singapore).

The good news is that with recent advances in cancer research, the survival rates for cancer have improved over the years.

Survival by stage
The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Many of these patients live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis. 5-year rates are used to produce a standard way of discussing prognosis (chance of recovery). (

Survival tends to worsen as the stage increases. The 5-year survival rates* for nose cancer patients in Singapore are believed to be as follows :

Stage 1 : 90-95%
Stage 2 : 80%
Stage 3 : 70%
Stage 4 : 50-60%

5-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed and initially treated more than 5 years ago. So the statistics may no longer be accurate as improvements in cancer treatment may have resulted in a more favourable outlook for recently diagnosed patients.

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. Survival statistics are useful as a general guide, but they may not accurately represent any one person's prognosis. A number of other factors, including other tumour characteristics and a person's age and general health, can also affect the prognosis (chance of recovery).


* Figures obtained from talk given at NPC support group in Apr 2009.

Ministry of Health, Singapore

World Health Organisation

American Cancer Society

Cancer Research UK


Vui Khong said...

Dear Sock Kim,

I am VK from Sabah. I came across your blog sharing informations about NPC. I develop blood stained mucus these few days so i went to see an ENT specialist. He checked my nasopharyngeal and saw reddish in colour. He decided to do biopsy and he discovered that my nose tissue is soften. So he says no good. There is no visible tumor inside my nose.
Now I am still waiting for the report to come. Do you know what is the chances I got NPC? And is I really developed NPC what is the stage I am in and my survival rate.

Please reply as soon as you could.

Thank you. VK.

sockkim said...

hi VK

Please email me @ I'll be glad to share with you.


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