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Colon Cancer Survival Rates

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

This article will discuss about colon cancer survival rates and its implications.

Colon Cancer Survival Rates: What is a Colon Cancer?

Colon Cancer is a disease of the lower part of the digestive system affecting the colon, rectum and appendix. It is also called Colorectal or Large Bowel Cancer. It is the 3rd most common cancer and the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths in the Western World. As per the American Cancer Society, 49,960 deaths are expected from Colon Cancer in 2008 in the US. In the UK, around 35,000 cases are detected every year and 16,000 deaths occur from the disease. Worldwide Colon Cancer accounts for 655,000 deaths annually.

Colon Cancer Survival Rates Reportedly Improving

The death rate in the US however has been dropping over the past 20 years. Today there are over 1 million survivors of the disease in the US. The main reason for the vast improvement in colon cancer survival rates is the improved screening available, which detects polyps before they become cancerous. If detected at an early stage, Colorectal Cancer is one of the most treatable.

As with most cancers, the stage at which the disease is diagnosed determines the prognosis or the survival rate. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute gives these overall survival rates for Colon cancer in the US:  93% at stage 1, 85% at stage 2A, 72% at stage 2B, 83% at stage 3A, 64% at stage 3B, 44% at stage 3C and 8% at stage 4.

colon cancer survival rates

Colon Cancer Survival Rates By Stage

Colon cancer survival rates vary depending on where the tumor is located. If the cancerous growth is located in the ascending colon, the 5 year survival rate is 63%, for the transverse colon it is 59% and for the descending colon it is 66%.

Colon cancer survival rates vary from country to country in the western world itself, possibly because of effectiveness of screening procedures. While the overall survival rate in the US is 62%, it is 43% in Europe.

The average age of diagnosis of Colon Cancer is 70 years; however younger people can get it too. Increased risk factors are those who have had a previous history of Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The treatment is mainly surgery in which the piece of the bowel that contains the cancer is removed and the two open ends are joined. If they can’t be joined, the bowel is brought outside the abdominal wall and a Colostomy bag created. Surgery is followed by Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy which improves the colon cancer survival rates by a further 5-6%.

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