Life Expectancy for a Stage 3 Lymph Node Cancer Patient


The lymphatic system contains a network of vessels that carry a fluid called lymph through the body. Lymph contains lymphocytes, or white blood cells, the cells of the immune system that fight disease. The lymph nodes filter the lymph and can become cancerous. There are about 35 types of lymphocytes that can be implicated in lymph node (lymphoma) cancers. According to the website Emedicinehealth, lymphoma is the most common type of blood cancer in the United States.


  • Lymphoma prognosis varies depending on the type, age at diagnosis and prior health problems. Lymphoma can be Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's and it can be indolent or aggressive. The difference between Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas is in the specific lymphocyte (white blood cell) it affects. The presence of a Reed-Sternberg cell, a specific kind of white blood cell abnormality, indicates Hodgkin's lymphoma. If the Reed-Sternberg cell is not present, the lymphoma is of the non-Hodgkin's variety, according to the Mayo Clinic. Indolent lymphoma is low-grade, meaning it is slow-moving and easier to treat. Aggressive lymphoma spreads quickly and can rapidly progress from stage 1 to stage 4. Determining your variety of lymphoma is the first step in determining your predicted life expectancy.

Stage 3 Lymphoma

  • Stage 3 lymphoma is the penultimate stage of the illness, when it has reached the internal organs, bone marrow and blood. On average, the earlier the stage of the lymphoma, the better the chances for survival. Patients experiencing stage 3 lymphoma who show no other symptoms (like fever, night sweats and weight loss) have a better prognosis than those who do, according to the website Lymphoma Info.

Prognosis Tools

  • According to the American Cancer Society, there are several factors to take into consideration when making a life expectancy prognosis. In addition to the stage of the disease, other important factors include: age; whether the cancer is in organs outside the lymph system; how well a person can perform daily activities; and blood serum levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which rise quickly when tumors are fast-growing. Based on these criteria, doctors assess survival rates for each risk group: low, intermediate and high.

State 3 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

  • The five-year survival rate for patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the high-risk category is 53 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. The ten-year survival rate for this group is 36 percent. The average five-year survival rate is 63 percent. The average ten-year survival rate is 51 percent.

Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma

  • Hodgkin's lymphoma is the rarer of the two forms. The average five-year survival rate is 85 percent, while the average ten-year survival rate is 81 percent. As therapies develop, life expectancies get longer. There has been a significant improvement in outcomes since the 1970s. Today 92 percent of Hodgkin's lymphoma patients survive for at least a year after diagnosis.

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