Survival statistics for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Survival statistics for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person's chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, a separate 5-year net survival statistic is not reported for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. It is included in a group called other respiratory system cancers, which includes similar cancers that are grouped and reported together. This statistic does not necessarily reflect the actual survival for the individual cancers within the group.

The 5-year net survival for other respiratory system cancers is 51%. This means that about 51% of people diagnosed with other respiratory system cancers will survive for at least 5 years.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of cancer. Generally, the earlier that cancer in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. This type of cancer usually is not found until it is at an advanced stage, which can make it more difficult to treat.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for each of the different types of tumours in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. The following survival statistics are general and include all tumour types that make up nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. There are also no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. But Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) of the National Cancer Institute divides the cancer into summary stages. Survival is reported as 5-year relative survival. Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

Localized means the cancer has not spread outside of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus and includes stages 1 and 2. The 5-year relative survival rate for localized disease is 85%.

Regional means the cancer has spread outside the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. It includes stage 3 cancers. The 5-year relative survival for regional disease is 50%.

Distant means the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. It includes stage 4 cancers. The 5-year relative survival for distant disease is 44%.

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your medical history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Expert review and references