“How long am I going to live?” There’s a new way to answer this question, and it’s called conditional survival. “The term refers to the improving probability of surviving long-term after the diagnosis of cancer or another chronic condition.,” says Joseph Cheaib, M.D., postdoctoral researcher in the Brady.
Cheaib recently evaluated the conditional survival of patients with kidney cancer, using the national SEER database and the records of about 3,000 patients in the Johns Hopkins database. “We found a stage-specific conditional survival,” he explains.“In particular, patients with advanced kidney cancers had a greater probability for long-term survival for every year they survived after the diagnosis of kidney cancer.”
Cheaib’s findings, recently published in Seminars in Urologic Oncology, indicate that patients with stage I and II kidney cancer did not experience a conditional survival – because they consistently survive at about 98 percent and 90 percent, respectively, no matter how long they are followed. Patients with metastatic kidney cancer showed the greatest increase in survival, increasing from 23 percent to 59 percent, and 31 percent to 76 percent over a five-year period in the SEER and Johns Hopkins datasets, respectively.
“These data have two important implications for our kidney cancer survivors,” says Phillip Pierorazio, M.D., the study’s senior author. “First, for patients with early-stage disease: once they undergo curative surgery, we can limit the extent of follow-up imaging after a relatively short period of time. And for patients with advanced cancer, it is very encouraging to see that our treatments are getting more and more effective. This is an incredibly hopeful time for patients with metastatic kidney cancer!”