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Colon Cancer Prognosis

A colon cancer prognosis, or expectation as to the outcome of the disease, is based on several factors, such as the type and location of the cancer and the stage of the disease. Other factors that may affect a colon cancer prognosis include the patient's age, general health, and response to treatment. When considering a patient's prognosis, the doctor will also review statistics from many other cases, including survival rates. It's important to remember, however, that a prognosis is only a prediction; the doctor cannot say for certain what the outcome will be for an individual person.

Colon Cancer Prognosis: An Overview

People facing colon cancer are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Understanding colon cancer and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones:
  • Plan treatment
  • Think about lifestyle changes
  • Make decisions about their quality of life and finances.
Many patients want to know their colon cancer prognosis. They may ask their doctor or search for statistics on their own.
A prognosis gives an idea of the likely course and outcome of a disease -- that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer).

Factors Affecting a Colon Cancer Prognosis

Many things affect a person's colon cancer prognosis. Some of the most important factors are the type and location of the colon cancer and the stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread).
Other factors that may also affect the colon cancer prognosis include the person's:
  • Age
  • General health
  • Response to treatment.
When doctors consider a person's colon cancer prognosis, they carefully assess all factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment and then try to predict what might happen. The doctor bases the prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds (or even thousands) of people with cancer. When possible, the doctor uses statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient.
The doctor may speak of a favorable colon cancer prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The colon cancer prognosis may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a colon cancer prognosis is only a prediction. The doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.
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