These days having a stage 1 cancer is generally no big deal. Stage 4 however is not too good at all. Doctors use ‘survival curves’ — survival statistics for people with your cancer and your stage of progression — to provide some kind of prognosis. In my case, most published survival curves suggest that only 10% of people are still alive 5 years post diagnosis. Now, I’ve since learnt that there are many reasons not to focus too much on these statistics. My prognosis is likely better (none of my doctors will venture a guess) but it is no better than 50/50. And even if I live beyond 5 years, my life expectancy as a survivor of metastatic cancer will almost certainly be much curtailed.