Appendix Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with appendix cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are diagnosed with appendix cancer?

Primary appendix cancer is cancer that starts in the appendix. Primary appendix cancer is very uncommon, affecting about 1 to 2 people out of every 1 million people. It is more common among people between 50 and 55 years of age. The number of people diagnosed with appendix cancer appear to have increased over the last 2 decades. This is especially true for malignant neuroendocrine tumors of the appendix diagnosed in younger people.

What is the survival rate for appendix cancer?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from appendix cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with appendix cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with appendix cancer are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

For grade 1 or grade 2 gastrointestinal (GI) neuroendocrine tumors overall, a category that includes neuroendocrine tumor of the appendix, the 5-year relative survival is between 68% and 97%. Due to the rare nature of other types of appendix cancer, specific statistics are not available. Talk with your doctor about the factors related to your specific diagnosis.

The 5-year relative survival rates for appendix cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of disease at time of diagnosis, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. Another factor that can affect outcomes is the type of appendiceal tumor (see “Types of appendix tumors” in the Introduction).

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for appendix cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how appendix cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the websites of the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Additional reference is: Singh H, et al. Continued increasing incidence of malignant appendiceal tumors in Canada and the United States: A population-based study. Cancer. 2020;126(10):2206-2216. doi:10.1002/cncr.32793. (All sources accessed February 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It describes the factors that may increase the chance of developing appendix cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.