Colorectal cancer survival rates can vary considerably among patients, mainly because every individual – and every cancer – is unique. Two key elements that can significantly influence a patient’s outcome are the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis and the patient’s response to treatment. As a result, if a patient receives a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and the patient responds well to that treatment, his or her specific prognosis can be very good.
Specific factors that can affect colorectal cancer survival rates include:
- Type of treatment – Surgery is the main form of treatment recommended for colorectal cancer. Sometimes, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are used after surgery to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. If a surgeon is able to remove all of the cancer from a patient’s body, the patient’s prognosis can be very promising.
- Lymph node involvement – While performing its primary function to eliminate toxins and fight off infections, the lymphatic system circulates lymph (a fluid that contains white blood cells) throughout the body. This process can facilitate the spread of cancer cells that have invaded lymph nodes. In general, patients who do not have lymph node involvement have better outcomes.
- Cancer spread to other organs – Advanced colorectal cancer can potentially spread to distant tissues and organs, such as the liver or lungs; this requires more extensive treatment. Cancers that have not spread beyond the site of origin are often associated with better prognoses.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we understand that some patients with colorectal cancer may be interested in learning about the survival rates of patients who were treated at our facility and elsewhere. Our experienced oncologists are available for consultation without referrals. These knowledgeable experts can provide information about the overall survival rate, explain how it may relate to a patient’s unique circumstances and offer other support and guidance to help a patient make the best treatment decisions possible.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that research is ongoing, and new and better cancer treatments are being discovered and evaluated every day. The scientists and clinicians at Moffitt are continually working to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, which already surpass national averages. In recognition of these dedicated efforts, Moffitt has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.