Mouth and Throat Cancer Survival Rates

The 5-year relative survival rates are comparisons between people with the same type and stage of cancer and the general population who do not have cancer. If the 5-year survival rate is, for example, 20%, that means that people who have a specific type of cancer are 20% as likely as healthy people to live for the next 5 years after being diagnosed.

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The American Cancer Society uses the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer. SEER tracks 5-year relative survival rates for mouth and throat cancer in the US based on how far the cancer has spread. Unlike the regular stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc groupings, SEER classifies cancer according to the following stages:

LocalizedNo signs of the cancer spreading outside the organ where it started
RegionalCancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and other structures
DistantCancer has spread to other organs of the body and distant lymph nodes

The following are the 5-year relative survival rates for mouth and throat cancer based on data from 2012-2018, according to specific origin:


All SEER stages combined91%


All SEER stages combined69%

Floor of the Mouth

All SEER stages combined53%


All SEER stages combined52%

*The survival rate for the localized stage in the orthopharynx is lower than that of the regional stage for still unknown reasons. But this data is a product of only a small sample size, so the discrepancy may be attributed to that.

It is important to consider the following when interpreting these numbers:

  • These numbers only apply to the stages when the cancer was first diagnosed, not when the cancer grows, spread, or returns after treatment
  • These numbers do not take into account your overall health, genetics, personal circumstances, and treatment response. Those details can affect your survival and recovery outlook.
  • Treatments have improved over time and people today have a better outlook for recovery than people diagnosed in the past.
  • If cancer is caught early, you can expect a better survival and recovery rate. There can be a great difference between relative survival rates when the diagnosis is at the localized stage versus the regional and advanced stages.

Regular dental exams and throat examinations are part of general health tests and are quite capable of spotting symptoms of mouth and throat cancer early. In addition to any symptoms you may feel, any irregularities should lead you to seek medical attention from your doctor immediately. If cancer is suspected, he should refer you to a specialist like an ENT, and run the available tests to diagnose cancer.

While the prognosis for mouth and throat cancer is quite positive even in the regional stage, you will notice that the treatments carry many potentially life-altering side effects because of how delicate the mouth and throat region are. A delayed diagnosis, or a misdiagnosis that can lead to undergoing the wrong treatments for a disease you don't even have can cause you the following:

  • Potentially losing your voice and ability to enjoy food;
  • Leave you disfigured; and,
  • Require constant treatment and supplementation post-operation.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed, or received a late diagnosis for mouth and throat cancer and are now suffering pain, decreased survival chances, and increased financial burdens due to your doctor’s negligence in the state of New York, contact the Porter Law Group.

Medical negligence cases are complex. No two cases are similar. Not only do you have to consider the legal aspects, but you also need the help of qualified medical experts to evaluate your case. You don't have to go through this alone. Our team of experienced lawyers and qualified medical experts can help you navigate the intricacies of medical malpractice claims.

Doctors have a responsibility to provide adequate care and promptly examine all possible options thoroughly with their patients. If not, they could be guilty of medical negligence.

There are three types of negligence:

Incorrect diagnosis

This is when a medical provider diagnoses a cancer patient with a disease other than cancer. This results in a patient not only losing resources for undergoing the wrong treatments but also in a delay in the necessary cancer treatment, which actively worsens the condition.

Delayed diagnosis

This is when a healthcare provider fails to diagnose cancer in its early stages. It can lead to the patient requiring more intense treatment options. This not only increases the cost but also subjects the patient to more pain and potential side effects that would have been unnecessary had the cancer been detected earlier. This can be the case with treatments such as the common radiation therapy.

False positive diagnosis

This is when a patient who does not have cancer is improperly diagnosed with cancer. This can lead to a patient undergoing surgery and radiation therapy. These are both costly and potentially life-threatening treatments, when they didn’t even have the disease to begin with.

If you or a loved one believe your healthcare provider misdiagnosed or delayed your mouth and throat cancer diagnosis, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain, discomfort, and decreased chances of survival.

Contact us at 833-PORTER9, or e-mail us at to discuss the details of our experience representing other clients and the results we were able to obtain in the past for clients who also suffered from cancer. In many ways, our results speak for themselves, and we will stand ready to help you and your family in your time of greatest need.

Last Updated on March 25, 2024 by Michael S. Porter
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