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Colorectal cancer

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Survival statistics for colorectal cancer

Survival statistics for colorectal cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for colorectal cancer and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

In Canada, a 5-year relative survival statistic is reported for colorectal cancer. The 5-year relative survival for colorectal cancer is 64%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are 64% as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with the stage of colorectal cancer. The following factors can also affect survival for colorectal cancer.

  • Generally, the earlier colorectal cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
  • There are many effective treatments available for colorectal cancer.
  • The outcome for advanced colorectal cancer is better if surgery can be done to remove the primary tumour and metastases.

There are no specific Canadian survival statistics available for the TNM stages of colorectal cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries. Survival statistics are divided into groups based on if the cancer is localized, regional or distant.

Colorectal cancer survival
Stage5-year relative survival

Localized (cancer is only in the colon or rectum)

90%

Regional (cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes)

71%

Distant (cancer has spread to lymph nodes or organs in another part of the body)

13%

Questions about survival

People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Stories

Parker Murchison My favourite thing about Camp Goodtime is being able to hang out with other kids who have survived cancer. They know what is going on in your life and can help you get through it.

Read Parker's story

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