Small Bowel Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed each year with small bowel cancer, also called small intestine cancer. 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 small bowel cancer?

In 2023, an estimated 12,070 adults (6,580 men and 5,490 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with small bowel cancer. The disease makes up less than 10% of gastrointestinal tract cancers and less than 1% of all cancers. The disease is diagnosed most often in people in their 60s and 70s.

It is estimated that 2,070 deaths (1,170 men and 900 women) from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023.

What is the survival rate for small bowel cancer?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from small bowel 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 small bowel 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 small bowel 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.

The 5-year relative survival rate for all types of small bowel cancer is 69%.

As explained in the Introduction, there are several types of small bowel cancer. Talk with your doctor about the survival rate for your specific diagnosis. The survival rates for small bowel cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage and grade of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

When detected at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate for small bowel cancer is 84%. Around 31% of cases are diagnosed at this stage. If small bowel cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 78%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 42%.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for small bowel cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how small bowel 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 American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, the ACS website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed March 2023.)

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