numbers below come from the National Cancer Institute database, looking
at people diagnosed with colon cancer between 2004 and 2010.
Survival rates are often referred to as a standard way of
discussing a person's prognosis (outlook). The 5-year observed survival rate
refers to the percentage of patients who live years after their cancer is
diagnosed. It remains very likely that many people live much longer than 5
years, and fortunately as well, many are cured.
survival rates (mentioned above) are deduced based upon the comparison between
the observed survival with what would be expected for individuals who do not
have cancer. This helps to account for the deaths that result from entities
other than cancer, and allows a clearer appreciation of the effect that the
cancer has on survival.
Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large
numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen
in any particular person's case. This is true because, despite the fact that
disease type and stage of a person's cancer are important in estimating prognosis,
many other factors can also affect the prognosis, such as the grade of the
cancer, the genetic changes in the cancer cells, the treatment received, and
how well the person tolerates the adverse effects of the treatment and the
response of the cancer to treatment. Even when taking these other factors into
account, survival rates remain at best rough estimates.
The mainstay of treatment for Stage IIIC of colon cancer is wide
surgical resection of the tumor, i.e., they cut out extra margins around the
main mass to ensure no residual cancerous tissue remains. This is followed by
supportive chemotherapy, what we called adjuvant chemotherapy. The currently
adopted chemotherapeutic regimens are based on 2 chemotherapy agents: Capecitabine and Oxaliplatin. Of course, the choice of
chemotherapy can only be made by the treating oncologist who has all the
clinical information of the particular patient.