Survival

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Below are general statistics based on large groups of people. 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 all non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Generally, for people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in England:

  • around 80 out of every 100 people (around 80%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • around 65 out of every 100 people (around 65%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • it is predicted that 55 out of every 100 people (55%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

Survival for low grade NHL

Low grade lymphomas can be difficult to get rid of completely. But they can be kept under control for several years. There are no UK-wide survival statistics available for all the different types and stages of low grade NHL.

Survival statistics are available for the following types of low grade lymphoma:

  • follicular lymphoma
  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • mantle cell lymphoma

These statistics are for people in one area of England diagnosed between 2004 and 2016.

Generally for people with follicular lymphoma:

  • almost 90 in 100 people (almost 90%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

For follicular lymphoma, doctors can use a scale called the Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI). It helps doctors predict how people may respond to treatment. You can read more about this index further down this page.

Survival statistics are available for the 3 prognostic groups for follicular lymphoma.

Low risk group

Almost all people (almost 100%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Intermediate (medium) risk group

90 out of 100 people (90%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

High risk group

Around 75% out of 100 people (around 75%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

This is a group of slow growing B cell lymphomas.

Generally for people with marginal zone lymphoma:

  • 80 in 100 people (80%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis

This is for all ages. Younger people tend to do better than older people.

For those younger than 60: 

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

For those aged between 60 and 79:

  • around 80 out of 100 (around 80%) will survive their lymphoma for 5 years or more after diagnosis

For those who are 80 or older:

  • around 65 out of 100 (around 65%) will survive their lymphoma for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed

Mantle cell lymphoma looks like a low grade lymphoma under the microscope. But it often grows more quickly, more like a high grade lymphoma.

Generally for people with mantle cell lymphoma:

  • around 40 in 100 (around 40%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis

This is for all ages. Younger people tend to do better than older people.

For those younger than 60: 

  • around 60 out of 100 (around 60%) will survive their lymphoma for 5 years or more after diagnosis

For those aged between 60 and 79:

  • almost 45 out of 100 (almost 45%) will survive their lymphoma for 5 years or more after diagnosis

For those who are 80 or older:

  • around 10 out of 100 (around 10%) will survive their lymphoma for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed

Survival for high grade lymphomas

High grade (aggressive) lymphomas generally need more intensive treatment than the low grade types. But they often respond well to treatment. Many people are cured. There are no UK-wide survival statistics available for all the different types and stages of high grade NHL.

Survival statistics are available for the following types of high grade lymphoma:

  • diffuse large B cell lymphoma
  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • peripheral T cell lymphoma

These statistics are for people in one area of England diagnosed between 2004 and 2016.

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of high grade lymphoma.

Generally for people with DLBCL:

  • 60 in 100 people (60%) will survive 5 years or more after their diagnosis

Burkitt lymphoma is a less common type of high grade lymphoma which can grow quite quickly.

Generally for people with Burkitt lymphoma:

  • around 55 in 100 people (around 55%) will survive 5 years or more after their diagnosis

These are fast growing lymphomas that develop from mature T cells. 

Generally for people with peripheral T cell lymphoma:

  • 35 in 100 people (35%) will survive 5 years or more after their diagnosis

This is for all types of peripheral T cell lymphoma. Survival depends on what type of peripheral T cell lymphoma you have. Statistics are available for the following types of peripheral T cell lymphomas:

  • peripheral T cell lymphoma Not otherwise Specified (PTCL NOS)
  • anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)
  • angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL)

Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma Not otherwise Specified (PTCL NOS)

Generally for people with PTCL NOS:

  • around 25 in 100 people (around 25%) survive for 5 years or more

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)

Some anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCLs) make a protein called ‘anaplastic lymphoma kinase’ (ALK). These are called ALK-positive ALCL. If your ALCL doesn’t make ALK it is called ALK-negative ALCL. This affects your outlook (prognosis).

Generally for people with ALK positive ALCL:

  • around 80 in 100 people (around 80%) survive for 5 years or more

Generally for people with ALK negative ALCL:

  • 45 in 100 people (45%) survive for 5 years or more

Angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL)

Generally for people with angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL):

  • almost 35 in 100 people (almost 35%) survive for 5 years or more

Survival for skin Lymphoma

Skin (cutaneous) lymphoma is a rare type of NHL. There are different types of skin lymphomas. Most are slow growing (low grade) but some can be fast growing (high grade).

There are no UK-wide survival statistics available for all the different types and stages of skin lymphoma. Survival statistics are available for the following types of skin lymphoma:

  • mycosis fungoides
  • Sezary syndrome

These statistics are for people in one area of England diagnosed between 2004 and 2016.

Mycosis fungoides is a very slow growing (low grade) type of skin lymphoma. Generally, for people with mycosis fungoides:

  • almost 90 in 100 people (almost 90%) survive 5 years or more after diagnosis

Sezary syndrome is a faster growing (high grade) type of skin lymphoma. Generally, for people with Sezary syndrome:

  • around 45 in 100 people (around 45%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the stage of the lymphoma when it was diagnosed. The stage tells you about the number and places in the body that are affected by lymphoma.

The type and grade also affects your likely survival. Grade is very important. It means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope. Low grade lymphomas tend to grow slower than high grade lymphomas.

A number of other factors also affect your outlook.

Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI)

For follicular lymphoma, doctors use a scale called the Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI). It has 5 prognostic factors that doctors use to plan treatment and predict how people may respond to treatment. These 5 factors are:

  • being older than 60 years
  • having stage 3 or 4 follicular lymphoma
  • having a low red blood cell (haemoglobin) level
  • having more than 4 areas of lymph nodes affected with lymphoma
  • a higher than normal blood level of an enzyme called LDH (serum lactate dehydrogenase)

If you have no poor prognostic factors you have a score of 0. People with all of the poor prognostic factors have a score of 5. The doctor uses this score to divide people with follicular lymphoma into 3 groups:

  • low risk if you have no or 1 poor prognostic factor
  • intermediate (moderate) risk if you have 2 poor prognostic factors
  • high risk, if you have 3 or more poor prognostic factors

Prognostic index for diffuse large B cell lymphoma

For diffuse large B cell lymphoma, doctors group these factors together to make a prognostic index. A prognostic index is a way of trying to decide who has a greater risk of their lymphoma coming back after treatment.

This scale is only for people with diffuse large B cell lymphomas – not for people with low grade lymphomas.

To work out the prognostic index, you score one point for each of the following:

  • aged over 60
  • stage 3 or 4 lymphoma at diagnosis
  • a higher than normal blood level of an enzyme called LDH (lactate dehydrogenase)
  • performance status of more than 2 (see below)
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma in more than one site outside your lymphatic system (in your bones, for example)

Performance status is a scoring system that describes how well you are and how much you can look after yourself.

0 means you are fully active and well. Your performance status will be more than 2 if you need to stay in bed or a chair for more than half the day and need a lot of help to look after yourself.

If you have no poor prognostic factors you have a score of 0. People with all of the poor prognostic factors have a score of 5. 

  • A score of 0 or 1 means you are more likely to respond well to treatment, and your lymphoma is unlikely to come back.
  • A score of 2 means you are at moderately low risk of your lymphoma coming back.
  • A score of 3 means you have a moderately high risk of the lymphoma coming back.
  • A score of 4 or 5 means you are at a higher than average risk of not responding to treatment, or of having your lymphoma come back after treatment.

Both indexes was created before doctors used rituximab to treat lymphoma. Rituximab has improved treatment for many people with NHL. Doctors generally still think these indexes are useful tools to help plan treatment and predict outcome. 

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.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

More statistics

Last reviewed: 
07 Jan 2022
Next review due: 
07 Jan 2025
  • Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN)
    Accessed June 2021

  • Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
    Office for National Statistics

  • AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (8th edition)
    American Joint Committee on Cancer
    Springer, 2017

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
    James O Armitage and others
    The Lancet 2017; 390: 298–310

  • Principles and practice of oncology (11th edition) 
    VT De Vita, S Hellman and SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer, 2019

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2014

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