Colorectal Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. These extra cells grow together and form masses, lumps, or tumors. In colorectal cancer, these growths usually start as harmless (benign) polyps in the Reference large intestine Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window (colon or rectum). Colon polyps are common and most do not cause problems. But if polyps are not detected and removed, some of them can turn into cancer.
If the cancer is allowed to continue growing, it eventually will invade and destroy nearby tissues and then spread farther.
- Colon cancer often spreads first to nearby lymph nodes. From there it may spread to other parts of the body, usually to the liver. It may also spread to the lungs, bones, or other organs in the body.
- Rectal cancer may spread directly to the lungs, bypassing the liver.
Metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer occurs when cancer cells travel, through either the bloodstream or the Reference lymph Opens New Window system, to other parts of the body and continue to grow in their new location. Recurrent colorectal cancer occurs when the cancer begins to grow again months or years after treatment.
How colorectal cancer will affect your life span depends on the Reference stage of your cancer. A cancer's stage depends on how far it has spread.
The 5-year survival rate for people who have colorectal cancer that has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes is 69%.Reference 1 This means that an average of 69 out of 100 people are still alive 5 years or longer after their cancer was discovered. For people who have colorectal cancer that has spread farther away to other parts of their bodies, the rate is 12%.Reference 1 This means that an average of 12 out of 100 people are still alive 5 years or longer after their cancer was discovered.
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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal