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What Factors Affect Colorectal Cancer Survival Rates?

M. Kayo
M. Kayo

Colorectal cancer survival rates will vary greatly and are largely determined by the stage of cancer when discovered or diagnosed, as well as the type of treatment used. Doctors might use these survival estimations, which are based on previous cases, as a way of providing a time line for the patient's reference. Many patients live longer than five years, and some are cured altogether. The treatments for this cancer have gotten better with time as doctors and researchers learn more about the causes and cures. Early diagnosis is critical in determining overall cancer survival rates, which range from more than a 70 percent chance of survival for stage I colorectal cancer to less than 10 percent chance of survival for stage IV.

If the cancer is detected early, then colorectal cancer survival rates are higher. Although the procedure using a colonoscope or sigmoidoscope to screen for colon and rectal cancer might seem undesirable, the alternative could be much worse. Knowing the reluctance of most people to undergo a colonoscopy to visually inspect the large intestine, doctors and researchers have looked for less-invasive ways to get an accurate diagnosis. Early diagnosis increases colorectal cancer survival rates.

Early diagnosis increases colorectal cancer survival rates.
Early diagnosis increases colorectal cancer survival rates.

Researchers have continued to work on ways to treat this disease and increase colorectal cancer survival rates. Some studies have found more effective ways to use chemotherapy drugs in combination with other cancer-fighting drugs like cisplatin and gemcitabine. Other researchers have studied the most effective ways to use existing colorectal cancer chemotherapy drugs with other targeted therapies such as bevacizumab, cetuximab and panitumumab. Chemotherapy drugs also have been used in conjunction with radiation therapy or immunotherapy to develop even more effective treatments for colorectal cancer.

The type of surgery, who performs it and where it is done also have a lot to do with colorectal cancer survival rates. Research has shown that a patient's chance of surviving after colorectal cancer surgery might depend on the surgeon and the type of care provided before, during and after surgery. If where surgery is done and who does the surgery make a difference, then it makes sense for a patient to check the records of medical facilities and doctors prior to having surgery for any type of bowel cancer.

Five-year colorectal cancer survival rates in men and women have increased significantly since the early 1970s. Improved survival rates are believed to be a direct result of earlier diagnosis and better overall treatment of colorectal cancer. Ten-year survival rates are almost as high as those who survive five years without a recurrence of colorectal cancer. Most patients who survive five years are likely to be considered cured of this cancer.

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    • Early diagnosis increases colorectal cancer survival rates.
      By: rob3000
      Early diagnosis increases colorectal cancer survival rates.