A cancer diagnosis is a scary and confusing time for a patient and their family. Concerns range from “who will take care of my kids” to “is a cure possible?” You need answers from your doctor.

Each kind of cancer from lung, colon to bladder, has a different survival rate. The survival rate is the statistical likelihood that you will be alive five years from the date of your diagnosis with cancer–this is known as the “five-year survival rate”. Generally, if you are alive five years after the diagnosis of cancer, you are considered cured of cancer. A recurrence of cancer is very unlikely more than five years after the original diagnosis.

Determining your survival rate and severity of your cancer is important to know if diagnosed. An experienced cancer diagnosis lawyer can offer support and legal advice for any diagnosis.

Five Year Survival Rate

There are statistical averages for every kind of cancer, but simply plugging in a number for a specific kind of cancer means little. You want to get an answer from your doctor as to the stage of your cancer. The stage of cancer generally addresses whether your cancer is in its earliest stage of development (stage 1) to the worst case scenario of having spread to distant organs that are remote from the original location of the tumor (stage 4).

How Does the Cancer Stage Correlate with Survival Rate?

The statistical five-year survival rate will vary greatly depending on the stage of your cancer. For example, Stage 4 lung cancer has a five-year survival rate of less than 2%, which means that more than 98% of those diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer will not be alive five years after their diagnosis. Stage 4 lung cancer is, unfortunately, virtually a death sentence. Stage 1 lung cancer, on the other hand, has a five-year survival rate of 85%, which means that 85% of those diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer are alive five years after the diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, the first question you should ask your doctor is: What is the stage of my cancer? Then you should ask, “What is the five-year survival rate for my cancer?” Even if your doctor refuses to tell you the five-year survival rate, you can determine the statistical percentage of a cure by finding out the stage of your cancer.

Grade of Tumors

If you want to go even further, you should you ask your doctor: “What is the grade of the tumor?” The “grade” is an estimate of the speed of tumor growth as suggested by cell features seen under a microscope. Low-grade tumors generally do not invade or spread, while high-grade tumors have a much greater likelihood of invading and spreading beyond their original location.

Cancer cells are usually classified as low, medium or high grade. The higher the grade, the faster the cancer cells multiply (known as mitosis). Knowing the grade of the cancer cells can help predict how fast cancer will grow and spread.

What is the Relationship Between Tumor Stage and Grade?

There is a strong relationship between tumor stage and tumor grade. Most superficial tumors are low grade, that is they are Stage 1 tumors, whereas most muscle-invasive tumors are high grade, that is they are Grade 3 or 4 tumors. If the cancer has spread from its original location and invaded surrounding tissues, the cancer cells tend to be high grade and the stage of the cancer is Stage 3 or 4.

Learning the stage of cancer and the five-year survival rate are the two most important questions that your doctor must answer. While many physicians are reluctant to answer these questions, you are entitled to answers from your doctor and you should insist on getting them.

Contact a Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer

After finding out you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer is shocking and terrifying. Being in touch with your doctors is important, but if you were misdiagnosed, it is important to contact a cancer diagnosis lawyer as soon as possible.