Cancer survival rate

The cancer diagnosis hits like a bombshell. And that is not surprising, because cancer is the number one cause of death in the Netherlands. The number of patients is increasing, but so is the chance of survival. In this article: the survival rate of different types of cancer.

Cancer diagnosis

An error in cell division can cause a healthy cell to turn into a malignant cancer cell. Cell division is increasingly difficult to restore as the patient ages. Cancer is becoming increasingly common. In 1990, 55,000 people were diagnosed with cancer. In 2011, this number had already grown to 92,000.

Causes of cancer

There is no clear cause for the development of cancer. There are factors that increase the risk of cancer, such as radioactive radiation, cigarette smoke, an unhealthy lifestyle or prolonged exposure to the sun. However, the disease can also arise as a result of a virus that damages DNA. Heredity is also an important factor.

Cancer survival rate

For all types of cancer, the chances of survival are greater at an early stage. The sooner the disease is discovered, the sooner it can be controlled. The prognosis is best if no metastases are found and if treatment of the tumor is possible. The effect of treatment depends on the type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. There are constant scientific developments and research that increase the chance of survival. If someone goes to the doctor in time with signs of cancer, this increases the chance of survival by 30%. However, not all cancer types can be detected at an early stage. That is what makes the disease so insidious.

Colon cancer

If colon cancer is detected early, the survival rate is 88% in the first five years. If it has spread to the other organs, this is only 10% in the first five years. One symptom is permanent changes in bowel habits.

Breast cancer

The survival rate for breast cancer is 94% if the disease is detected at an early stage. When it spreads, only 17% survive the first five years. A signal is a lump in the body.

Lung cancer

The prognosis or survival rate for lung cancer is poor. 20% of patients are cured.


Leukemia is cancer in the blood or bone marrow. A distinction is made between acute and chronic leukemia. The chance of survival is highly dependent on the type of leukemia. In ALL, the most common form, the survival rate is 85% in children and 50% in adults.

Brain tumor

A brain tumor is one of the most dangerous types of cancer. After five years, one in five patients is still alive. The chance of survival is so small because the tumors are only discovered at an advanced stage.

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