The earlier the diagnosis and the younger the person, the better the outlook tends to be.

Uterine cancer is a term used for any cancer that starts inside the uterus.

Endometrial cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer. It’s treatable depending on factors like how early it was diagnosed and the age of the person.

Uterine sarcoma is rare — accounting for 5% to 10% of all uterine cancer diagnoses — and typically has a less favorable outlook.

On average, the 5-year survival rate for all uterine cancers is around 81%.

While statistics can be useful for condition estimates and guiding doctors, they can’t give a definitive outlook.

Most survival rate statistics come from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database and are based on large groups of people.

In a nutshell, survival rates state the average number of people who are still alive a certain number of years after diagnosis. This is often 5 years.

So, a 5-year relative survival rate of 81% means that 81% of people with uterine cancer are still alive 5 years after diagnosis.

That includes people who no longer have cancer as well as those who may still have it.

But these statistics do not consider the cause of death. In some cases, that may not have even been related to the cancer.

Plus, it can take a few years for new research and advances in diagnosis or treatment to be factored in.

It’s a good idea to remember that every person has an individual outlook that will take into account a variety of factors.

Uterine cancer is split into several stages. The higher the stage, the more cancer has spread:

  • Stage 1 means the cancer is only located inside the uterus.
  • Stage 2 is when cancer has spread into the cervical tissue.
  • Stage 3 means cancer has spread outside of the uterus or into nearby tissues.
  • Stage 4 means cancer has spread to more distant organs or distant lymph nodes.

Each of these stages has sub-stages that indicate exactly where cancer has spread.

For example, stage 4A means cancer has spread to the inner lining of the bladder or rectum, whereas 4B means it has spread to distant areas away from the uterus, such as the lungs.

But the SEER database tends to use the following stages when looking at survival rates:

  • Localized: cancer remains in the area where it started growing
  • Regional: cancer has spread to nearby parts of the body
  • Distant: cancer has spread to areas that are farther away

Uterine cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people assigned female at birth between the ages of 55 and 64. The average age of diagnosis is 63.

Survival rates tend to lower the older a person is, with most deaths occurring in the 65 to 74 age group.

In 2014, the 5-year relative survival rate for each age group was as follows:

Age 5-year survival rate
75 and over66.6%

The stage of cancer at diagnosis can have a big impact on a person’s outlook.

If uterine cancer is diagnosed when it has not spread from the uterus, there’s a better chance of living for longer.

According to the SEER database, 67.5% of uterine cancer cases are diagnosed when cancer remains at this localized stage. Of people with localized uterine cancer, 94.9% are alive 5 years after diagnosis.

The survival rate reduces as cancer spreads, dropping to 69.8% for regional cases and 18.4% for distant cases:

Stage5-year survival rate
all stages combined81.3%

Outlook is individual and can be complex as well as changeable. Your doctor will take several factors into account.

These factors include:

  • the type of uterine cancer that’s diagnosed
  • general survival rates for the stage of uterine cancer that has been diagnosed
  • the likelihood of cancer spreading (known as the grade)
  • the treatment options available

Your doctor will also consider your overall health and age, and potentially your race. Black people have a lower survival rate when it comes to uterine cancer. They are more likely to receive a diagnosis of more aggressive types, such as uterine sarcoma.

If treatment has already started, response to this treatment will influence outlook, too.

Whether you received a uterine cancer diagnosis or know someone who has, there are lots of places to find support and advice.

The National Cancer Institute is one informative resource to start with. For access to more personalized support, take a look at the American Cancer Society’s helpline and CancerCare’s services.

Don’t forget to reach out to local health services as well. Your healthcare team should be able to put you in contact with support services in your area — both for you and your family and friends.

Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.