Colorectal Cancer (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. These extra cells grow together and form masses, called tumors. In colorectal cancer, these growths usually start as polyps in the large intestine (colon or rectum). Colon polyps are quite common and most do not cause problems. But if they are not detected and removed, some of them can turn into cancer.
Cancers in the colon or rectum usually grow very slowly. It takes most of them years to become large enough to cause symptoms. If the cancer is allowed to grow, it eventually will invade and destroy nearby tissues and then spread farther. Colorectal cancer spreads first to nearby lymph nodes. From there it may spread to other parts of the body, usually the liver. It may also spread to the lungs, and less often, to other organs in the body.
The long-term outcome, or prognosis, for colorectal cancer depends on how much the cancer has grown and spread. Experts talk about prognosis in terms of "5-year survival rates." The 5-year survival rate means the percentage of people who are still alive 5 years or longer after their cancer was discovered. It is important to remember that these are only averages. Everyone's case is different. And these numbers do not necessarily show what will happen to you. The estimated 5-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is:1
These numbers are taken from reports that were done at least 5 years ago, before newer treatments were available. So the actual chances of your survival are likely to be higher than these numbers.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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