Stage 3 Colon Cancer marks the growth and spread of the cancer cells to the nearby lymph nodes. However, at this stage, it has not yet invaded the vital organs of your body. Some doctors may need some specifications before diagnosing you of Stage 3 Colon Cancer. Some doctors will require at least 3 affected nodes before confirmation is given.
Stage 3 Colon Cancer Sub-stages
Same as stage 2, Stage 3 Colon Cancer is also divided into parts or phases: one less advanced than the other. Based on the TNM staging system, phase one under stage 3 is called T1-T2 N1 M0 which means that the cancer has invaded these parts of your colon: mucosa, submucosa and to 1-3 regional lymph nodes—however, it has not metastasize to any surrounding organs yet. Phase 2 is more advanced and is called T3-4 N1 M0. By this it means that the tumor is roughly invaded the subserosa, the peritoneum and 1-3 lymph nodes. Stage 3C is referred as Any T, N2 M0—meaning, there are more than 3 lymph nodes already affected regardless of the size and extent of proliferation coverage of the tumor.
Other references will also tell you that Stage 3C differs from the other 2 phases because this already involve some metastasis on parts nearest to the colon such as the bladder and ovaries.
Stage 3 Colon Cancer Treatment
The treatment of choice for this stage is partial colectomy plus adjuvant chemotherapy. FolFox, a type of chemotherapeutic combination is best preferred by many surgeons but some may also recommend 5-FU and leucovorin depending on the state of your over-all heatlh. But to be honest, this is already deemed “old standard” and is seldom used of doctor’s today. If there are still more cancer cells that were impossible to be taken off during surgery, your doctor may also suggest radiation therapy to get rid of those leftover cancer cells.
The therapies are also another alternative for people who are not fit enough to undergo colectomy or any surgeries for that matter.
Stage 3 Colon Cancer Survival Rate
About 83% of the people who were first detected as having stage 3A were able to survive for more than 5 years, provided they had a successful surgery or if their treatment plan worked out on them just fine. Survival rate for stage 3B is around 60% while it’s expectedly downed to 44% in stage 3C. These Stage 3 Colon Cancer survival rates were provided by the American Cancer Society.