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Find out about survival for anal cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:

  • type and stage of cancer
  • level of fitness
  • previous treatment

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 by stage

There are no UK wide statistics available for anal cancer survival by stage. 

The statistics below come from a UK wide study called ACT 2. The researchers looked at different treatment combinations for people with anal cancer. The results below are for progression free survival after treatment. This is the number of people who are alive 3 years after diagnosis, and whose cancer has not grown or got worse.

T1 and T2 

Around 80 out of 100 people (around 80%) were alive 3 years after diagnosis and their cancer had not got worse.

T1 and T2 tumours are 5cm or smaller.

T3 and T4

Around 65 out of 100 people (around 65%) were alive 3 years after diagnosis and their cancer had not got worse.

T3 tumours are larger than 5 cm and T4 tumours can be any size, but have grown into surrounding tissues or organs.

Survival for all stages of anal cancer

Generally, for people with anal cancer in England:

  • around 85 out of 100 people (around 85%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more
  • almost 65 out of 100 people (almost 65%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more
  • more than 55 out of 100 people (more than 55%) survive their cancer for 10 years or more.

What affects survival

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

Some studies show that survival is better for women than men.

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years. They relate to the number of people who are still alive 1 year or 5 years after their diagnosis of cancer.

Some people live much longer than 5 years.

More statistics

For more in-depth information about survival and anal cancer, go to our cancer statistics section. 

Last reviewed: 
30 Apr 2019
  • Mitomycin or cisplatin chemoradiation with or without maintenance chemotherapy for treatment of squamous-cell carcinoma of the anus (ACT II): a randomised, phase 3, open-label, 2×2 factorial trial
    R D James and others
    The Lancet Oncology. 2013. 14 (6) 516 - 524

  • Anal cancer survival statistics
    Cancer Research UK (Accessed April 2019) 

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