The second greatest number of cancer fatalities is from colon cancer.. Each year, roughly 48,000 individuals will die from colon cancer. A large number of these fatalities could be avoided with early diagnosis and treatment through routine colon cancer screening of asymptomatic individuals.
If the cancer is detected as a small polyp in the course of a routine screening test, such as a colonoscopy, the polyp might be able to be removed in the course of the colonoscopy without the requirement for the surgical removal of any segment of the colon. If the polyp grows into a tumor and reaches Stage 1 or Stage 2, the tumor and a part of the colon on each side of the tumor is surgical taken out. The odds that the individual will survive the cancer can be over 90% for early stage cancer..
By the point the cancer gets to Stage III, a colon resection is not enough. The patient will, in addition, need to have chemotherapy. At this stage the likelihood that the patient will continue to be alive over 5 years after the diagnosis falls to fifty three percent, depending on such variables as the quantity of lymph nodes that have cancer.
As soon as the colon cancer metastasizes, treatment might call for undergoing chemotherapy and perhaps other drugs along with surgery on other organs. Should the dimensions and number of tumors in different organs (like the liver and lungs) are small enough, surgery on these organs may be the initial treatment, then chemotherapy. In some cases the dimensions or quantity of tumors in the different organs eliminates the possibility of surgery as a treatment.
If chemotherapy and different drugs are able to reduce the number and size of these tumors, surgery might then turn out to be an option as the second form of treatment. If not, chemotherapy and various drugs (perhaps through clinical trials) may temporarily stop or reduce the continued spread of the cancer. With metastasis the individual’s likelihood of outliving the cancer for greater than 5 years subsequent to diagnosis falls to around eight percent.
The statistics are clear. The time frame in which the colon cancer is found and treated makes a dramatic difference. If detected and treated early, the individual has a high likelihood of surviving the disease. When detection and treatment is delayed, the chances start shifting against the individual so that once the colon cancer progresses to the lymph nodes, the probability is almost even. Plus the chances decrease precipitously when the colon cancer metastasizes.
However, all too often people do not undergo routine cancer screening even when they have symptoms. When the cancer is eventually diagnosed in these situations, the cancer has already advanced to a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. This happens in more than half of all new diagnosed cases. The individual now faces a very different outlook than if the cancer had been found early through standard screening.
The above is merely a commentary on the statistics of colon cancer. It is not medical advice. Consult with a doctor right away about any medical, health or cancer related concerns.