If you have received a diagnosis of colon cancer, no matter what stage, it does not have to mean a death sentence. Patients diagnosed with even stage 3 cancer can live for years after diagnosis. The important factors that determine life expectancy are the stage, grade and characteristics of the illness, your age, your general overall health and your treatment plan.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Life expectancy especially in terms of a serious illness or condition can be very difficult to determine. To determine life expectancy for those with cancer is even more difficult, as tumors from person to person are different. Therefore, life expectancy is usually discussed as survival rates, the percentage of people who live for a specified period of time after diagnosis and treatment.
Five Stages of Cancer
Colon cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, is the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the lining of the colon. The colon is part of the large intestine which also includes the rectum and the appendix. Stage 3 colon cancer as described by the American Cancer Society is broken down into three sub-stages 1. Stage 3a is when the cancer has grown into the submucosa of the lining and has spread to up to 3 lymph nodes. Stage 3b is when the cancer has grown into the outermost layers of the wall of the colon and may have reached nearby organs. Again, this stage is also marked by the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes. Stage 3c is when the cancer has spread to at least 4 lymph nodes.
- Colon cancer, also referred to as colorectal cancer, is the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the lining of the colon.
- Stage 3a is when the cancer has grown into the submucosa of the lining and has spread to up to 3 lymph nodes.
Stage 3 Symptoms
Colon cancer that has reached stage 3 will likely induce symptoms that you can detect. This includes pain in the lower abdomen area, cramps, difficult bowel movements, nausea and extreme fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor. Anyone over 50 should be screened for colon cancer, even in the absence of symptoms. Stages 0, 1 and 2 may not have symptoms that you can detect, and the best way to catch the cancer early is through screening tests. These tests may include a fecal occult blood test, which can detect blood in the stool, or a colonoscopy, in which the doctor can visually see the inside of the colon to determine the colon health. Studies have shown that a fecal occult blood test can reduce the mortality rate from colon cancer by 33 percent.
- Colon cancer that has reached stage 3 will likely induce symptoms that you can detect.
- Stages 0, 1 and 2 may not have symptoms that you can detect, and the best way to catch the cancer early is through screening tests.
Prognosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer
Diagnosis begins with a physical exam and discussion of your symptoms with your doctor. If colon cancer is suspected, the doctor will follow up with diagnostic tests, including blood tests, a colonoscopy and a biopsy, during which a tissue sample taken during the colonoscopy is looked at under the microscope to determine the presence of cancer cells.
Doctors and researchers typically determine 5-year survival rates for cancer patients; this is the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their diagnosis. These rates should only be used as a general guide. There are many factors that affect your survival, including your tumor size and characteristics, your health, your treatment plan and your outlook on life. As discussed above, stage 3 colon cancer has 3 sub-stages. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for each stage is different 1. For stage 3a, you have an 83 percent chance of surviving at least 5 years. For stage 3b you have a 64 percent chance of surviving at least 5 years. For the most severe case of stage 3, stage 3c, the survival rate is 44 percent. Please consult your doctor for your specific case and to determine the best course of treatment and your specific prognosis or outcome.
- Doctors and researchers typically determine 5-year survival rates for cancer patients; this is the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their diagnosis.
- For the most severe case of stage 3, stage 3c, the survival rate is 44 percent.
Five Stages of Cancer
Prognosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer
Life Expectancy for a Stage 3 Lymph Node Cancer Patient
Stage 3 Lung Cancer Life Expectancy
Stage 3 Cancer Life Expectancy
Prognosis for Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma
Symptoms of Cecum Carcinoma
Melanoma Stage 3 Prognosis
Life Expectancy After Whipple Procedure
Life Expectancy With Lymphoma
- American Cancer Society
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Stephanie Chandler is a freelance writer whose master's degree in biomedical science and over 15 years experience in the scientific and pharmaceutical professions provide her with the knowledge to contribute to health topics. Chandler has been writing for corporations and small businesses since 1991. In addition to writing scientific papers and procedures, her articles are published on Overstock.com and other websites.