What Is the Most Realistic Prognosis for Patients Suffering From Stage III Lymphoma?

The prognosis for an individual with stage III lymphoma depends on several factors, including his age and performance status, or to what extent he can take care of his everyday needs, explains the American Cancer Society. The number of organs affected by cancer and the level of lactate dehydrogenase, or LDH, in the blood are prognostic indicators as well.

Doctors base the prognosis for patients with fast-growing lymphomas on the revised International Prognostic Index, a set of criteria that has proven useful in determining whether a patient is at a high or low risk of dying from his disease, explains the American Cancer Society. The IPI states that poor prognostic indicators include: age over 60, stage III or IV disease, cancer that has spread to more than one organ, a low performance status, and a high LDH. For each of these factors, the patient receives one point. He is then assigned a risk group based on his total score.

According to the study used to develop the IPI, 95 percent of patients who scored 0 on the index lived at least four years, compared to 55 percent of those who scored 3 or more, reports the American Cancer Society. Since a person with stage III disease has a score of at least 1, his prognosis falls somewhere between those figures, depending on his total score.

Doctors have also developed an index for patients with follicular lymphomas, which tend to grow slowly, explains the American Cancer Society. It includes several additional criteria, including blood hemoglobin levels and the number of lymph nodes, versus organs, involved. In this group, 91 percent of patients with a score of 0 to 1 survived five years or more, compared to 51 percent of those with a score of 3 or above.