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Survival

Find out about survival for thyroid cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival for different types of thyroid cancer

There are no UK wide statistics available for thyroid cancer survival. 

The survival statistics below are from a large European study. They are based on people treated between 1990 and 1994. Treatments improve over time, so people treated now may have a better outlook. 

With thyroid cancer, the most important factor that affects survival is the type of thyroid cancer you have.

Around 90 out of 100 men (around 90%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Around 95 out of 100 women (around 95%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

More than 80 out of 100 men (80%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Almost all women will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

More than 60 out of 100 men (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

More than 60 out of 100 women (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Almost 5 out of 100 men (almost 5%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

10 out of 100 women (10%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival by stage for different types of thyroid cancer

There are no UK wide statistics for outcome by stage for thyroid cancer.

These statistics are from the USA for patients treated in the 1980s and 1990s. Survival depends on the type of thyroid cancer.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer doesn’t have a very good outlook. Most patients with this type of thyroid cancer live between 2 to 6 months.  

The prognosis for individual people with anaplastic thyroid cancer depends on the size of the tumour and how much can be removed with surgery. The best outlook is if the tumour is less than 5 cm in size and can be completely removed.

Stage 1 and 2
Almost all people (almost 100%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

Stage 3
Around 80 out of 100 people (around 80%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

Stage 4
More than 25 out of 100 people (more than 25%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

Stage 1 and 2
Almost all people (almost 100%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Stage 3
Around 70 out of 100 people (around 70%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Stage 4
50 out of 100 people (50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Stage 1 and 2
Everyone (100%) is expected to survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Stage 3
Almost 95 out of 100 people (almost 95%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Stage 4
Around 50 out of 100 people (around 50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Survival for all types and stages of thyroid cancer

No UK-wide survival statistics are available for all types and stages of thyroid cancer.

The following statistics are from the National Cancer Intelligence Network. They are for people diagnosed in England between 2000 and 2002.

For all people diagnosed with thyroid cancer in England

  • almost 90 out of 100 (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the stage of the thyroid cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The type and grade of thyroid cancer also affects your likely survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

Your likely survival is also affected by your age. Survival is better in younger men and women.

About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

Last reviewed: 
06 Jul 2016
  • AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (7th edition) S. Edge and others (editors). Springer, 2010

  • Variation in relative survival of thyroid cancers in Europe: Results from the analysis on 21 countries over the period 1983–1994 (EUROCARE-3 study)
    M Colonnaa and others
    European Journal of Cancer (October 2006). Volume 42, Issue 15, Pages 2598–2608

  • Profile of Head and Neck Cancers in England: Incidence, Mortality and Survival
    National Cancer Intelligence Network, January 2010

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (10th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

  • Cancer Research UK Statistics
    Accessed June 2016

     

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