After you’ve been diagnosed with blood cancer, you may want to know more about your prognosis – in other words, what may happen in the future.
Any information you find out about the prognosis for a particular disease will be based on what happened to a large group of people over a particular period of time, so it can only give you a general picture. Even if two people have the same condition, their prognosis may be different.
It’s best to ask your healthcare team about your prognosis, if you want to know about it at all. Your individual prognosis will depend on a number of things:
- your diagnosis, including the type of blood cancer and the results of specific tests
- the stage of the disease when you’re diagnosed
- your age and general fitness.
Even taking these things into account, the information your healthcare team gives you will be quite general. It will be based on what’s happened to people similar to you, but people can still have quite different experiences.
Remember, your prognosis might change over time too, if you have a good response to your treatment for example. If your condition changes, or if you’ve finished part of your treatment, you might want to ask your healthcare team if this has affected your prognosis.
If you decide to search for information on prognosis, you may come across statistics called survival rates. These state the percentage of people surviving a disease over a set period of time – usually five years. For example, a five-year survival rate of 90% means that nine out of ten people with a particular condition are alive five years after their diagnosis.
Figures like these can seem alarming and confusing, but they are just averages based on a large group of people’s experiences with the same disease. They don’t mean that 90% of people with that disease will only live for five years, or that 90% of people are cured after five years. They are guides to help doctors compare the general prognosis for different diseases, and give an idea of how well people with the same type of cancer have responded to their treatment in the past.
If you hear or read something about your prognosis that you don’t understand or that worries you, speak to our Support Services Team.
Sometimes people close to you might want to know about your prognosis even if you don’t. Your healthcare team aren’t allowed to give any information about your prognosis or any other details of your condition or treatment to anyone else – even close family – without your permission.
Tell your healthcare team who you want to know about your condition and prognosis. You can change your mind at any time.
Worried or have questions about prognosis?
We can talk you through it