I have a question about cancer cure statistics. Many of the cancer literature or databases I have come across speak about 5 year or 10 year survival rates. In this case survival means that the patient with cancer is still alive 5 or 10 years after diagnosis. I am in need of references about the statistics which explain what is the percentage of people in these groups who are in progression-free survival group and disease-free survival group. That is for instance among the cancer patients which survive for some X years, who are completely cured of cancer (which means that the cancer is completely cured and has not reoccured with in this X years).

Update: USA data is preferred


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So you want to know actual numbers of survivors? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ No I want to now the actual number of people among the survivors whose cancer has been completely cured. Survivors also include people who survive for some time with the cancer still in their body. $\endgroup$
    – Sina
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Sina Any particular cancer or geographical location you are particularly interested in? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the question. I would prefer USA if available. Age stratification would also be very useful. $\endgroup$
    – Sina
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ Does this help? cancercenter.com/ctca-results $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 4:20

2 Answers 2


I would caution you against using phrases such as "completely cured" or even "cured". This goes beyond our technical ability to detect the presence of tumor cells within someone's body. All we can conclude is progression-free survival (i.e. living with cancer that does not get worse) or disease-free survival (i.e. or no signs or symptoms of the tumor). Many of these data are included in cancer trials along with overall survival rates. Some general statistics for many groups of cancers can be found here: http://www.cancer.gov/statistics/find

And a glossary of terms used in reporting cancer statistics here: http://www.cancer.gov/statistics/glossary


In cancer research, we never talk about "curing" cancer because, as others have pointed out, there is no way of being sure that all of the cancer has been eradicated. You may be interested to consider "Recurrence" statistics which describe the amount of time from when a cancer was treated to when it was detected to have returned.

If you are willing to do some statistics computations of your own, The Cancer Genome Atlas (http://cancergenome.nih.gov/) will let you download clinical datasets that include datasets like recurrence, "Overall Survival" (how long did the person live after being diagnosed with cancer), and others. You can plug in either recurrence values or overall survival values and perform a Survival Analysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_analysis, http://lifelines.readthedocs.org/en/latest/Survival%20Analysis%20intro.html) to see how long people tend to live cancer-free or live in general after their diagnosis depending on their cancer type (or other variable you feel like comparing).

  • $\begingroup$ I didn't know this was publicly available now. Thanks this is really interesting. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 15:14

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