Survival for laryngeal cancer patients
Survival depends on different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live.
Doctors usually work out the outlook for a certain disease by looking at large groups of people. Because this cancer is less common, survival is harder to estimate than for other, more common cancers.
Some of the statistics have to be based on a small number 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).
Survival by stage
Survival statistics are available for each stage of laryngeal cancer in England. The figures below are for men with laryngeal cancer. There are no survival statistics for women, because there is not enough data available.
The figures we present use the number staging system. This staging system is slightly different to the T stages used by doctors. We provide a brief description of each stage to help you find the relevant information. But if you are uncertain, do ask your doctor or nurse to help you understand this information.
Around 90 out of 100 adults (around 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 1 laryngeal cancer is only in one part of the larynx and the vocal cords are still able to move. The cancer has not spread to nearby tissues, lymph nodes or other organs.
Almost 70 out of 100 adults (almost 70%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
Stage 2 laryngeal cancer has spread to another part of the larynx from where it started. In some types of laryngeal cancer, it has grown into the vocal cords and these may not be able to move. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
Almost 60 out of 100 adults (almost 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
Stage 3 laryngeal cancer has grown throughout the larynx but has not spread to other parts of the body. OR at least one vocal cord is fixed and can’t move. OR the cancer may also have spread to a nearby lymph node, which is no larger than 3cm across.
The survival statistics for stage 4 laryngeal cancer don’t take into account the age of the people with laryngeal cancer. Statistics that do take into account the age (age-standardised statistics) are not available.
More than 30 out of 100 adults (more than 30%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
Stage 4 cancer may have spread into tissue outside the larynx such as the thyroid or food pipe. It may have spread to lymph nodes which are further away and larger in size. And it may have spread to other parts of the body.
What affects survival
Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.
The type of cancer and grade of the cancer cells can also affect your likely survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.
The location of the cancer in the larynx also affects survival.
Your general health and fitness also affect survival. The fitter you are, the better you may be able to cope with your cancer and treatment.
Also, if you carry on smoking after your cancer, this affects your likely survival. And there is a higher risk that you will get a second cancer.