A five-year relative survival rate compares the percentage of people who are alive five years after being diagnosed with cancer with the survival rates of people without cancer. Treatments have improved markedly in recent years, and in fact the prognosis for men diagnosed with prostate cancer has gotten better over time. Currently, the relative survival rates for men diagnosed with cancer are quite good: The five-year relative survival rate for all men diagnosed with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent; the 10-year relative survival rate for all prostate cancer patients is 98 percent; and the 15-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer patients is 91 percent.
Your specific prognosis will depend on the stage of cancer. Cancers that are caught early carry a better prognosis than those diagnosed in later stages, when the tumor has spread beyond the prostate. The National Cancer Institute tracks survival rates for prostate cancer according to local, regional and distant stages. Stage I and II cancers are considered local, and about 80 percent of prostate cancer diagnoses are local. Regional cancers have spread from the prostate to nearby areas; these include stage III and some stage IV tumors. Distant cancers include all other stage IV cancers—cancers that have spread to the bones, lymph nodes or other organs.
The five-year relative survival rate for local and regional cancers is nearly 100 percent. For distant prostate cancers, however, the five-year relative survival rate is only 29 percent.