Eye Cancer Survival Rates

Doctors use survival rates as a way of discussing one’s outlook (prognosis). A five-year survival rate is the percentage of patients who lived for at least five years after the diagnosis of cancer. The eye cancer survival rates also depend on the previous outcomes of large numbers of people who at one point happened to have cancer.

However, this can change depending on one’s general health, the grade of the cancer, how well one responds to treatment and the treatment doctors administered. However, these rates are estimates and only apply to first cases of cancer.

The survival rates for eye cancer are available in the year 2010 in the 7th edition of the AJCC staging process manual. The data relied on the National Cancer Data Base about people who had the cancer between the year 1988 and 2001 and are based on about 1500 patient who positively has melanoma of the eye.

The survival rates for melanomas based on a specific stage are hard to determine because these cancers are relatively rare. Therefore the 5-year relative survival rate is about 80% for cancer that is confined to the eye. The 5-year relative survival rate is about 15% for those with eye melanomas that have spread to distant parts of the body.

Survival rates for lymphoma of the eye are hard to find because these types of cancer are rare. Therefore, lymphoma of the eye that has not metastasized; the patient can live for more than five years.

Staging of Eye Cancer

In the analysis of cancer survival rates and prognosis, staging is the process of finding out how widespread the disease. Furthermore, surgeons use it to determine what type of treatment they will apply to their patient. Lastly, doctors perform it by examining the location and the type of the cancer tissue.

Staging is important for eye cancer because it can determine different prognoses at the various stages and therefore doctors administer different treatments accordingly. It helps to determine one’s health condition to know if the cancer needs treatment or not.

Furthermore, this type of cancer commonly relies on the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) staging system. It also relies heavily on the results of the patient’s diagnosis. The AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer), TNM staging system, involves three factors which include:

  • Tumor: Extent of the primary tumor. If the tumor has grown into the walls of the eye and if it has grown into other nearby organs or tissues.
  • Node: Presence or absence of metastasis to nearby lymph nodes (bean-sized collections of immune system cells throughout the body).
  • Metastasis: Presence or absence of distant metastasis to other organs of the body (especially to the liver).

This staging system applies to either iris, ciliary body, and choroidal melanomas.

Stage I (Early Stage)

Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or nearby tissues. No single tumor has spread to the blood vessels and deeper eye layers.

Stage IIA and IIB

There is a single tumor that has grown deeper into the eye tissues. Though, cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites.

Stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC

Cancer has not spread to the nearby lymph node or distant sites. However, cancer has spread to the blood vessels and deep down in the eye tissues. The cancer has ulcerated the surrounding tissues and has thickened.

Stage IV (Distant Spread)

Cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It has spread to the nearby lymph nodes and distant sites. It has spread beyond the original area of eye layers.

COMS (Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study) staging of melanoma of the eye

This system divides eye melanomas into small, medium and large melanomas. It is a simpler staging system devised by the COMS group.


Eye cancer statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2017, from Cancer Research UK: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/eye-cancer

Eye Cancer Survival Rates. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2017, from American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/eye-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html