ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of children and teens who will be diagnosed with a germ cell tumor each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with a tumor 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 tumor 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 your child individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
How many children and teens are diagnosed with a germ cell tumor?
Extracranial, extragonadal germ cell tumors are rare.
Germ cell tumors, including those that occur in the reproductive organs, account for about 3% of all tumors in children younger than 15 and about 14% in teens ages 15 to 19.
What is the survival rate for a germ cell tumor?
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a child or teen’s chance of recovery from a germ cell tumor. 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 a tumor may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with a germ cell tumor 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 tumor.
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 children and teens with a germ cell tumor are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if the tumor 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.
The 5-year relative survival rate for children younger than 15 is about 91%. The 5-year relative survival rate for children between 15 and 19 is 94%.
The survival rates for a germ cell tumor vary based on several factors. These include the stage of tumor, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.
The survival rate for children with a stage I or stage II germ cell tumor is 90%. The survival rates for children and teens with a germ cell tumor can be affected by several factors, including age, location of the tumor, and stage. The survival rate for a stage III tumor is 87%. The survival rate for a stage IV tumor is 82%.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for a germ cell tumor every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how a germ cell tumor is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital website; Shaikh F, et al.: Paediatric extracranial germ-cell tumours. The Lancet Oncology. 2016 Apr; 17(4):e149-e162 (doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00545-8); and Seigel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2023. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2023 Jan; 73(1):17–48. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21763.. (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 a germ cell tumor. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.