Stomach Cancer Survival Rate and Prognosis

The current overall five-year relative stomach cancer survival rate is 33.3%. That means that one in three people treated for stomach cancer will live for at least five years following their diagnosis.

With that said, the survival rate only offers a snapshot of the odds, and many people live well in excess of this.

Doctor talking to a patient

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Stomach cancer prognosis is based on many individual factors, including the type and stage of cancer you have, your age and general health, and where and how extensively the cancer may have spread. You can find more details about that here.

This article also takes an in-depth look at the relative survival rates for stomach cancer, including how they are determined and how rates vary based on the general stage of cancer.

Determining Stomach Cancer Survival Rates

There is no way that a cancer specialist can accurately predict how many years you or a loved one will live once diagnosed with stomach cancer. What they can offer are statistics based on the outcomes of people living with your type of cancer in the United States.

These statistics are compiled by the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database.

SEER researchers calculate five-year survival rates based on continually updated data on people of all ages, genders, races/ethnicities, and health statuses who survive for at least five years following their diagnosis.

It's important to note that survival rates do not take into account what treatments a person was prescribed, if treatment was stopped, or if the person died from a cause unrelated to stomach cancer (such as a car accident).

Survival rates are categorized in the following ways:

  • Overall: The percentage of all people who have your type of cancer irrespective of age, general, or cancer type or stage
  • Localized: The percentage of people whose cancer has not spread beyond the primary tumor (corresponding to stage 1)
  • Regional: The percentage of people whose cancer has spread beyond the lining of the stomach to nearby lymph nodes and tissues (corresponding roughly to stages 2 and 3)
  • Distant: The percentage of people whose cancer has spread to distant organs (corresponding to stage 4 metastatic stomach cancer)

Some researchers offer one-, two-, or 10-year relative survival rates for certain types of cancer based on how aggressive or indolent (slow-growing) they are. But, for practical purposes, most specialists use five-year survival rates.

Current Five-Year Survival Rates for Stomach Cancer

Science is advancing rapidly with respect to stomach cancer, with new treatments offering longer survival times and newer genetic tests facilitating earlier diagnoses in some people.

Because of this, survival rates for stomach cancer have been gradually improving year on year. As such, what your statistical odds are this year may improve in the next.

Based on SEER data for 2020, the five-year relative survival rate for stomach cancer is as follows:

Definition 5-year relative survival
Overall All people with cancer 33.3%
Localized Confined to the primary site 71.8%
Regional Spread to regional lymph nodes 32.9%
Distant Cancer has metastasized 5.9%
Unknown Cancer is unstaged 25.4%

The lion's share of diagnoses (37%) occurs when the cancer has metastasized. An estimated 28% are diagnosed when the tumor is localized, while 25% are diagnosed the cancer is regional. (The remaining 10% of cases are unknown due to the lack of available data.)

Prognosis vs. Relative Survival

Where survival rates are described in relative terms, prognosis suggests a more individualized assessment of what to expect if you have stomach cancer. It takes into account the different factors that can influence the likely outcome, some of which can change over the course of treatment.

From a broad perspective, there are several key factors that help establish a prognosis for stomach cancer:

  • Stomach cancer type: The most common type is adenocarcinoma, which accounts for around 95% of cases. But, there are other types and subtypes that may be more or less aggressive.
  • Stomach cancer stage: This is a classification of a tumor based on its size, location, and extent of metastasis (spread) to other organs. The staging, which runs from stage 1 to stage 4, helps determine the appropriate course of treatment.
  • Stomach cancer grade: This is a measurement of the aggressiveness of a tumor based on how normal or abnormal the cells look under the microscope in terms of their shape and grouping.
  • Genetics: Based on the genetic tests of your cancer, you may be a candidate for certain targeted therapies that may improve outcomes.
  • Your age: Outcomes tend to be better for younger people than older people, but not always. Some rare hereditary stomach cancers in younger people can be very aggressive.
  • Your performance status: Performance status (PS) is an estimate of your ability to perform certain daily tasks without assistance. PS is rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores translating to better outcomes.
  • Your response to treatment: This is assessed on an ongoing basis using blood and imaging tests that evaluate, respectively, how well you are tolerating treatment and how effective the treatment is at reducing, maintaining, or eliminating cancer.

Based on these and other factors, the healthcare provider can give you a clearer sense of your survival rate and, if you are in remission, your disease-free survival rate.


The overall five-year survival rate for stomach cancer in 2022 is 33.3%, although the rate is significantly better if the tumor is localized (71.8%). Survival rates are estimated based on all people with stomach cancer irrespective of age, general health, or cancer type or stage.

A prognosis is based on individual factors that can increase or decrease your chances of survival. It takes into account your cancer type, stage, and grade as well as your age, performance status, response to treatment, and other factors.

A Word From Verywell

The five-year survival rate for stomach cancer is simply a statistic. It is meant to guide you and your healthcare provider so you have an idea of what to expect. It is not supposed to be taken as a hard-and-fast rule.

As such, you can help influence outcomes by keeping yourself healthy and fit, eating well, and building a support network to maintain a positive attitude. Doing so may help you better tolerate more aggressive therapies and, in turn, increase your odds of remission or disease control.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common is stomach cancer?

    Stomach cancer only accounts for about 1.5% of cancer cases in the United States each year. In 2022, an estimated 26,280 people were newly diagnosed with stomach cancer; 11,090 deaths were reported.

  • Is stomach cancer aggressive?

    Stomach adenocarcinoma, the most common type, tends to grow slowly. But diffuse cases, characterized by scattered and disorderly clusters of cancer cells, can be aggressive. These are less common and more often seen in younger people.

  • What are some signs of stomach cancer?

    Symptoms of stomach cancer include unintentional weight loss, poor appetite, pain in the abdomen, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling and discomfort, blood in the stool, fatigue, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Stomach cancer.

  2. National Cancer Institute. Understanding cancer prognosis.

  3. American Cancer Society. Key statistics about stomach cancer. Updated January 22, 2021.

  4. Iyer P, Moslim M, Farma JM, Denlinger CS. Diffuse gastric cancer: histologic, molecular, and genetic basis of disease. Transl Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5:52. doi:10.21037/tgh.2020.01.02

  5. American Cancer Society. Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer. Updated January 22, 2021

Additional Reading
  • American Cancer Society. (2016). Survival Rates for Stomach Cancer
  • Edge SB, Compton CC. The American Joint Committee on Cancer: the 7th edition of the AJCC cancer staging manual and the future of TNM. Ann Surg Oncol. 2010 Jun;17(6):1471-4.
  • National Cancer Institute. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Cancer Stat Facts: Stomach Cancer.
Colleen Doherty, MD

By Colleen Doherty, MD
Dr. Doherty is a board-certified internist and writer living with multiple sclerosis. She is based in Chicago.