Colon Cancer Survival Rates
Colon cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the large intestine or rectum. Colon cancer causes about 5% of all cancers worldwide and accounts for 10% of all cancer-related deaths, although the stages of colon cancer life expectancy are quite high if detected early through screening tests such as colonoscopy. Colon cancer surgery survival rates also increase or decrease depending on each stage.
Symptoms associated with colon cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation)
- Blood or mucus in stool
- Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen
- Unexpected and effortless weight loss
There are several screening tests performed to test for colon cancer including colonoscopy, stool DNA test (FOBT), and Fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
Causes of Colon Cancer
The causes of colon cancer are primarily environmental and include:
- Diet: Eating a diet high in processed meats increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Processed meats contain nitrates and nitrites, which can be converted to carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines by bacteria in the intestines.
- Lifestyle: Alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity causes chronic inflammation, which results in the body making fat cells called adipocytes. These cells secrete a hormone called leptin, which causes further inflammation and slows down apoptosis (programmed cell death). This causes abnormal growth in cells, which may become cancerous.
- Physical Inactivity: Physical inactivity leads the body to produce inflammatory cytokines which cause chronic inflammation and the development of abnormal growths called polyps. These mutations develop into cancer over several years if they are not removed.
- Smoking Tobacco: Tobacco contains carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) that cause inflammation in the colon. Inflammation causes abnormal cell division and DNA damage.
- Age: As a person ages there is a greater chance that pre-cancerous cells will develop into cancer due to lower levels of antioxidants in the body which causes oxidative stress.
- Sex hormones: Men have an increased risk of developing colon cancer if they have an excess of testosterone or other male sex hormones.
- Heredity: A mutation in the MLH1 gene causes hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer, which results in the early onset of cancers. If a child inherits this gene from only one parent, there is a 1/3 chance that he or she will develop cancer in the '20s.
- Family history: If one has a first-degree relative (e.g., mother or father, brother or sister) with colon cancer, then this causes an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
- Medications: Some medications like phenylbutazone may cause mutations in cells that cause them to become cancerous.
- Hormone replacement therapy: HRT causes an increased risk of developing endometrial, ovarian, and colon cancers.
Is Colon Cancer Curable?
Oftentimes, the most important inquiry is whether a type of cancer is curable or not. The question of whether colon cancer is curable depends largely on the stage and the treatment received. Colon cancer surgery survival rates also depend on each cancer stage. However, in the consensus, colon cancer is often highly treatable and curable. It is also highly preventable.
Colon Cancer Survival Rates
Stages of Colon Cancer Life Expectancy
Colon cancer survival rates depend on factors such as the stage, the age of the individual suffering from it, and others. Stage 3 colon cancer survival rate, as well as stage 4 colon cancer survival rate, are amongst the lowest due to their progressed state. However, the stages of colon cancer life expectancy are usually quite high.
- Stage 1 Colon Cancer Survival Rate: This survival rate is encouragingly high, with over 92% of patients living for at least 5 years or more after initial diagnosis.
- Stage 2 Colon Cancer Survival Rate: More than 80% of people diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer can survive their cancer for 5 years or more if caught early.
- Stage 3 Colon Cancer Survival Rate: Nearly 70% of people diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer may survive for 5 years or more if caught early.
- Stage 4 Colon Cancer Survival Rate: This stage has one of the lowest survival rate percentages, with around only 14% of people surviving for 5 years or more.