Colorectal Cancer Prognosis

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Prognosis of outcome of a cancer is usually determined by several parameters. Some of these include survival rates, expectation of survival for at least 5 years after diagnosis, survival without progression of the disease or cancer (termed progression free survival) etc.

5-year survival rates

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Many patients may and do survive much longer than 5 years especially if the cancer is detected early.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease. They are an estimate and cannot predict the actual survival estimate in an individual.

Colon cancer survival rates

In colon cancer survival rates are predicted by stage.

This comes from a study of the National Cancer Institute's SEER database, looking at more than 28,000 people diagnosed with colon cancer between 1998 and 2000.

Stage 1 – 74% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2A – 67% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2B – 59% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2C – 37% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 3A – 73% 5 year survival rate
Stage 3B – 46% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 3C - 28%5-year Survival Rate
Stage 4 - 6% 5-year Survival Rate

*In this study, survival was better for some stage III cancers than for some stage II cancers. The reasons for this are not clear.

Rectum cancer survival rates

In rectum cancer survival rates are predicted by stage.

These survival rates are based on a study of the National Cancer Institute's SEER database, looking at nearly 10,000 people diagnosed with rectal cancer between 1998 and 2000.

Stage 1 – 74% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2A – 65% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2B – 52% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 2C – 32% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 3A – 74% 5 year survival rate
Stage 3B – 45% 5-year Survival Rate
Stage 3C - 33%5-year Survival Rate
Stage 4 - 6% 5-year Survival Rate

*In this study, survival was better for some stage III cancers than for some stage II cancers. The reasons for this are not clear.

Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)

Sources

  1. http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/colorectal-adenocarcinoma.htm
  2. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/bowel/survival/bowel-cancer-survival-statistics
  3. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/type/bowel-cancer/treatment/statistics-and-outlook-for-bowel-cancer
  4. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-survival-rates
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cancer-of-the-colon-rectum-or-bowel/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/cancer/typescancer_bowel.shtml
  7. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf
  8. http://www.cwru.edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/Colorectal_Cancer.pdf
  9. http://web.udl.es/usuaris/e4650869/docencia/segoncicle/genclin98/recursos_classe_(pdf)/revisionsPDF/ColonCancer.pdf

Further Reading

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