Cancer treatments have varying survival rates depending on the cancer, the treatment, and how the survival rate is calculated. If you really want to know how successful conventional treatments are at curing cancer, you’ll be hard pressed to find the information.
Cure rates are hard to find. Instead, the medical community publishes 5-year survival rates. If cancer patients die from cancer 5 years and 1 day from the time they were diagnosed, their 5-year survival is still a success to the cancer industry. Furthermore, most cancers are extremely slow moving diseases. If the cancer patient was left untreated, a 5-year survival rate is likely. Proponents of alternative treatments argue that cure rates have not changed in the last 35 years. The 5-year survival rate has improved—but they contend this improvement is due to earlier detection rather than successful medical intervention.
Consider the placebo effect. In 1955 Henry Beecher concluded that between 30 and 40 percent of any treated group would positively respond to a placebo (sugar pill). When new drugs are tested for FDA approval, they go through a placebo test where results are compared to a sugar pill.
New research shows that the placebo success rate may be significantly higher than previously believed, as high as 75%. Furthermore, the bigger the treatment appears to be, the higher the success rate. Patients who believe they underwent surgery experience higher levels of success than those taking a pill.
Chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer has a current 5-year survival rate of 44%. With many other types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment success rates are as low as 1%.