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Colorectal Cancer Prognosis

Colorectal Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rates

Survival rates indicate the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of cancer who survive the disease for a specific period after their diagnosis. Often, statistics refer to the five-year survival rate, which refers to the percentage of people who are alive five years after diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of cancer, are free of the disease, or are undergoing treatment.
 
Survival rates are based on large groups of people. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.
 

Five-Year Survival Rates and Colorectal Cancer

Survival rates can be calculated by different methods for different purposes. The colorectal cancer survival rates presented here are based on the relative survival rate. The relative survival rate measures the survival of patients with cancer in comparison to the general population to estimate the effect of the disease.
 
The overall five-year relative colorectal cancer survival rate for 1996-2002 was 64.1 percent. The five-year relative survival rates by race and sex were:
 
  • 66.0 percent for white men
  • 64.2 percent for white women
  • 55.6 percent for African American men
  • 53.9 percent for African American women.
     

How the Stage of Colorectal Cancer Affects the Prognosis

The stage of colorectal cancer has an impact on the prognosis. Based on historical data:
 
  • 39 percent of cases are diagnosed while the colorectal cancer is still confined to the primary site (localized stage)
     
  • 37 percent of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed after the disease has spread to regional lymph nodes or directly beyond the primary site
     
  • 19 percent of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has already metastasized (distant stage)
     
  • 5 percent of cases had staging information that was unknown.
     
The corresponding five-year relative survival rates were:
 
  • 90.4 percent for localized
  • 68.1 percent for regional
  • 9.8 percent for distant
  • 34.6 percent for unstaged.
     
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