Close

Neck Cancers

Determining Your Prognosis

Your prognosis is a prediction of the outcome of your disease. What is the risk of succumbing to the cancer or the risk of its coming back? These are the big questions on most people’s minds after receiving a diagnosis of head and neck cancer.

It is very difficult to discuss prognosis without understanding all the details of your cancer, and this is a conversation you’re better off having in person with your doctor. To give you a percentage chance of cure is really difficult because cancer research looks at all sorts of different types of cancers and may include patients from long ago.

You should read about different primary tumor sites to learn about prognosis for different tumors. For cancers with an unknown primary, you can see the section on metastatic lymph nodes. Below is prognosis of two types of primary neck cancers, sarcoma and lymphoma.

Sarcoma

For soft tissue sarcomas, stage can help predict the prognosis. The higher the stage, the lower the overall survival.

Based on an analysis of national databases of a number of different types of sarcomas in adults (in all sites, not just the head and neck, in patients over the age of 19), the following estimated disease-specific survival rates were found:

Histological Type ALL STAGES LOCAL REGIONAL DISTANT ALL STAGES
5-Year Estimated Disease-Specific Survival 5-Year Estimated Disease-Specific Survival 5-Year Estimated Disease-Specific Survival 5-Year Estimated Disease-Specific Survival 10-Year Estimated Disease-Specific Survival
Total 50% 83% 83% 16% 44%
Perivascular sarcoma 63% 82% 82% 43% 48%
Liposarcoma 83% 91% 91% 31% 74%
Dermatofibrosarcoma 100% 100% 100% N/A 99%
Other fibrosarcoma 72% 88% 54% 24% 65%
Fibrohistiocytic sarcoma 67% 81% 55% 12% 64%
Leiomyosarcoma 52% 72% 44% 14% 43%
Rhabdomyosarcoma 35% 59% 40% 6% 31%
Kaposi’s sarcoma 25% N/A N/A N/A 19%
Vascular sarcomas excluding KS 36% 58% 32% 13% 30%
Chondro-osseous sarcomas 55% 62% 66% N/A 48%
Sarcomas of uncertain differentiation 56% 80% 49% 17% 51%

Estimated disease-specific survival is the percentage of people with a specific cancer who are alive at a given time, such as five years after diagnosis. It excludes people who may have died from a disease other than their cancer. It is probably the best estimate we have in these large national databases as to the prognosis of a particular type of cancer at each stage.

Lymphoma

To look at prognosis for lymphoma, we separated Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and then broke down estimated disease-specific survival rates based on stage and type of lymphoma. Again, this is all based on national data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma: In general, the prognosis for Hodgkin lymphoma is quite good. Higher stage is associated with a worse prognosis. Of the different subtypes, Lymphocyte Depleted has the worst prognosis.

 

 

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL): The survival statistics based on stage are shown here. Also, we’ve used the SEER data to show you survival based on some different types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs).Nodular Lymphocyte Predominance (Nodular LP)
  • Nodular Sclerosing (NS)
  • Mixed Cellularity (MC)
  • Lymphocyte Depletion (LD)
  • Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)

 

 

References

1 Gurney JG, Young JL, Roffers SD, Smith MA, Bunin GR. SEER pediatric monograph – soft tissue sarcomas. National Cancer Institute. Page 111. http://seer.cancer.gov/publications/childhood/softtissue.pdf.

2 Fletcher CDM, Rydholm A, Singer S, Sundaram M, Coindre JM. Soft Tissue Tumours. In: Barnes EL, Eveson JW, Reichart P, Sidransky D, editors. World Health Organization classification of tumours: pathology & genetics WHO Classification. Lyon: IARCPress; 2005.

3 Zhang MQ, El-Mofty SK, Dávila RM. Detection of human papillomavirus-related squamous cell carcinoma cytologically and by in situ hybridization in fine-needle aspiration biopsies of cervical metastasis: a tool for identifying the site of an occult head and neck primary. Cancer. 2008;114(2):118-23.

4 Cunningham MJ, Myers EN, Bluestone CD. Malignant tumors of the head and neck in children – a 20 year review. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 1987;(13)3:279-292.

5 Edge SB, et al. The AJCC Cancer Staging Manual – Seventh Edition. American Joint Committee on Cancer 2010. Page 611.

6 Ries LAG, Young JL, Keel GE, Eisner MP, Lin YD, Horner M-J (editors). SEER Survival Monograph: Cancer Survival Among Adults: U.S. SEER Program, 1988-2001, Patient and Tumor Characteristics. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, NIH Pub. No. 07-6215, Bethesda, MD, 2007.

7 Yuek B. Measuring and Reporting Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer. mcLEan, Virginia; 2002.

8 Arens C. Transoral treatment strategies for head and neck tumors. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;11:Doc05.

9 Weinstein GS, O'malley BW, Magnuson JS, et al. Transoral robotic surgery: a multicenter study to assess feasibility, safety, and surgical margins. Laryngoscope. 2012;122(8):1701-7.

10 Li Y, Taylor JM, Ten haken RK, Eisbruch A. The impact of dose on parotid salivary recovery in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;67(3):660-9.

11 Garden AS, Morrison WH, Wong PF, et al. Disease-control rates following intensity-modulated radiation therapy for small primary oropharyngeal carcinoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;67(2):438-44.

12 Eisbruch A, Levendag PC, Feng FY, et al. Can IMRT or brachytherapy reduce dysphagia associated with chemoradiotherapy of head and neck cancer? The Michigan and Rotterdam experiences. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;69(2 Suppl):S40-2.

13 Chen AM, Farwell DG, Luu Q, Chen LM, Vijayakumar S, Purdy JA. Marginal misses after postoperative intensity-modulated radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011;80(5):1423-9.

14 Lee NY, O'meara W, Chan K, et al. Concurrent chemotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy for locoregionally advanced laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;69(2):459-68.

15 Beadle BM, Liao KP, Giordano SH, et al. Reduced feeding tube duration with intensity-modulated radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare Analysis. Cancer. 2017;123(2):283-293.

16 Pfister DG, Cassileth BR, Deng GE, et al. Acupuncture for pain and dysfunction after neck dissection: results of a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2010;28(15):2565-70.

17 Scarantino C, Leveque F, Swann RS, et al. Effect of pilocarpine during radiation therapy: results of RTOG 97-09, a phase III randomized study in head and neck cancer patients. J Support Oncol. 2006;4(5):252-8.

18 Holliday EB, Frank SJ. Proton radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: a review of the clinical experience to date. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2014;89(2):292-302.

19 Miller RC, Lodge M, Murad MH, Jones B. Controversies in clinical trials in proton radiotherapy: the present and the future. Semin Radiat Oncol. 2013;23(2):127-33.

20 Zenda S, Kawashima M, Nishio T, et al. Proton beam therapy as a nonsurgical approach to mucosal melanoma of the head and neck: a pilot study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011;81(1):135-9.

21 Fukumitsu N, Okumura T, Mizumoto M, et al. Outcome of T4 (International Union Against Cancer Staging System, 7th edition) or recurrent nasal cavity and paranasal sinus carcinoma treated with proton beam. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;83(2):704-11.

22 Demizu Y, Fujii O, Terashima K, et al. Particle therapy for mucosal melanoma of the head and neck. A single-institution retrospective comparison of proton and carbon ion therapy. Strahlenther Onkol. 2014;190(2):186-91.

23 Fuji H, Yoshikawa S, Kasami M, et al. High-dose proton beam therapy for sinonasal mucosal malignant melanoma. Radiat Oncol. 2014;9:162.

24 Allen AM, Pawlicki T, Dong L, et al. An evidence based review of proton beam therapy: the report of ASTRO's emerging technology committee. Radiother Oncol. 2012;103(1):8-11.

Important: Privacy Update

Your privacy and the protection of your personal information is important to the THANC (Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer) Foundation and the Head & Neck Cancer Guide (HNCG). For this reason, we have updated our privacy policy to align with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Please click below to see an updated privacy policy that describes how we collect and use your personal information and respect your privacy.

Privacy Policy