December 2, 2023

Medical Trend

Medical News and Medical Resources

How long can patients live with colorectal cancer?

How long can patients live with colorectal cancer?


How long can patients live with colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is already a common tumor, including colon cancer and rectal cancer, and its incidence ranks third among all malignant tumors, after lung cancer and gastric cancer.

According to the latest data, there are more than 380,000 new cases of colorectal cancer every year.

Colorectal cancer ranks fifth in the number of deaths, with more than 180,000 deaths per year.

Colorectal cancer seriously threatens our health. What factors are related to the prognosis of colorectal cancer? Let’s talk today.


Colorectal cancer is a relatively low malignant tumor, that is to say, colorectal cancer is a tumor with a relatively high survival rate.

In the United States, the overall 5-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 61%, that is, more than 60% of patients can survive for more than 5 years.

Therefore, the treatment effect of colorectal cancer is good, everyone should not be afraid of the disease.

If you have colorectal cancer, you should go to the hospital for treatment as soon as possible.


How long can  patients live with colorectal cancer?



The survival rate of colorectal cancer is related to the following factors:


(1) Tumor staging

Colorectal cancer can be divided into stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 according to the degree of tumor development.

Stage 1 cancer belongs to early stage, stage 2 and 3 tumors belong to middle stage, and stage 4 tumors belong to late stage.


Colorectal cancer should be staged before surgery. The main methods of staging are CT and MRI.

Colorectal cancer is divided into stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 according to the depth of tumor invasion, the number of lymph node metastasis, and whether there is distant metastasis.


How long can  patients live with colorectal cancer?


According to the preoperative staging method, the first, second and third stage tumors need to undergo surgical treatment.

If it is the second or third stage rectal cancer, concurrent chemoradiotherapy should be received before surgery to reduce the local recurrence rate and improve the surgical resection rate.


The preoperative staging is not 100% accurate.

The postoperative pathological staging shall prevail, that is, after the tumor is removed, it is sent to the pathology department, and the pathologist can observe it under a microscope to determine the depth of tumor cell infiltration.

There are several lymph node metastases, and the pathological staging of the tumor is obtained, which is the most accurate. According to the pathological stage, the patient’s survival period and the next treatment plan can be determined.


Colon cancer 5-year survival rates collected in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1991-2000 are as follows:

  • Stage I (T1-2N0)-93%;
  • Stage IIA (T3N0)-85%;
  • Stage IIB (T4N0)-72%;
  • Stage IIIA (T1-2N1)-83%;
  • Stage IIIB (T3-4N1)-64%;
  • Stage IIIC (N2)-44%;
  • Stage IV -8%.


We can see that the survival rate of stage 1 colorectal cancer is as high as 93%, while the 5-year survival rate of stage 4 tumors is only 8%.



(2) Pathological type

Colorectal cancer is not a single disease, but a combination of multiple pathological types.

The same is true of colorectal cancer, which has different types, such as adenocarcinoma, neuroendocrine carcinoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor, lymphoma, hamartoma, etc. Among them, more than 90% of cancers are adenocarcinomas.


Different pathological types of cancer have different treatment effects and treatment methods.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors and lymphomas have better treatment effects and high survival rates.



(3) Whether the surgery is clean

Surgery is the main treatment for stage 1, 2, and 3 colorectal cancer.

For stage 1 colorectal cancer, simply excision is enough.

For stage 3 colorectal cancer, chemotherapy is required after surgery.


If the tumor is not completely removed by surgery, such as the circumferential resection margin and positive margin, it means that there are tumor cells remaining in the body, or the doctor did not follow the principles of surgery, did not perform total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer, and did not remove enough lymph nodes. may lead to tumor recurrence.


In other words, surgery plays a very important role, and surgery must follow certain principles to ensure that the tumor can be completely removed, so as to reduce the recurrence rate and improve the survival rate.


(4) Tumor response to treatment

Stage II and III rectal cancer requires radiotherapy and chemotherapy before surgery.

If the tumor is sensitive to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and the cancer cells regress significantly, even the tumor cells completely regress, indicating that the cancer treatment effect is good.

Studies have shown that the survival rate of patients with complete tumor regression is extremely high, and the recurrence and metastasis rates are very low.

If preoperative imaging assessment shows that there is no residual tumor in the patient’s body, there is no need for surgical treatment, and only regular observation is required.


For those patients who do not respond to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, the tumor does not shrink, or the shrinkage is not obvious, indicating that the treatment effect is not good, and the chance of recurrence and metastasis will increase.



(5) Other factors

There are many other factors that can affect the prognosis of patients, such as the number of dissected lymph nodes, tumor differentiation, vascular and lymphatic invasion, nerve invasion and so on.


Studies have shown that the greater the number of lymph nodes removed, the more accurate the tumor staging.

If the number of lymph nodes removed is insufficient, the stage of the tumor may be underestimated and the patient may not receive timely treatment.


The degree of tumor differentiation refers to the degree to which tumor cells are similar to normal cells.

If tumor cells are highly similar to normal cells, it is highly differentiated, and if the similarity is very low, it is poorly differentiated. In between is the middle differentiation.



In general,


  • Well-differentiated tumors are not prone to recurrence and metastasis, and the treatment effect is good.
  • Poorly differentiated tumors grow rapidly, easily metastasize, and have poor therapeutic effects.
  • Moderately differentiated tumors, with growth rates between the two, are generally less effective.
  • Tumor cells invaded by blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves, indicating that tumor cells have strong infiltration, are prone to metastasis, and have poor therapeutic effect.


All in all, colorectal cancer is a tumor with better treatment effect, with an overall 5-year survival rate of about 60%.


Tumor stage is the most important factor in determining the survival period of patients. Early colorectal cancer has good treatment effect, but late treatment effect is poor.







How long can  patients live with colorectal cancer?

(source:internet, reference only)

Disclaimer of