Survival rates for endometrial cancer

Last Modified: December 19, 2004


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My sister-in law was just diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She is having a CT, MRI, colonoscopy, hysterectomy and staging this week. The current rate of survival for stages 1-4 are not clear. I would just like an honest answer so that I can plan the direction of support for my family once she is staged.

Thank you for your time and help.



Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

It is difficult to find survival rates for various stages of endometrial cancer because the rates vary widely depending on many factors, such as grade of the tumor, substage (IA, IB, or IC, etc.), and histologic subtype (endometrioid versus papillary serous versus clear cell, etc.). Also keep in mind that while a patient with a significant amount of tumor outside of the uterus covering the ovaries and other pelvic structures may be classified as a stage IIIA, a patient with a small amount of tumor confined to the uterus with microscopic spread to the lymph nodes may have a much smaller disease burden overall, but be classified as a stage IIIC, a "higher" stage.

When looking at large numbers of patients with endometrial cancer by stage alone, approximate 5-year survival rates (the percentage of patients alive 5 years after diagnosis) are as follows:

Stage I85%
Stage II65%
Stage III45%
Stage IV15%

Survival for any individual patient may be higher or lower depending on factors specific to their situation. I would encourage you and your family to speak in detail with your physician regarding your sister-in-law's situation, rather than relying on these very general numbers.