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Rectal Cancer Prognosis

Rectal Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rates

Survival rates indicate the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of cancer who survive the disease for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. Often, statistics refer to the 5-year survival rate, which refers to the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of cancer, are free of the disease, or are undergoing treatment. Survival rates are based on large groups of people. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.

Rectal Cancer Prognosis: 5-Year Survival Rates

Survival rates can be calculated by different methods for different purposes. The rectal cancer survival rates presented here are based on the relative survival rate. For these rates, national statistics combine colon cancer and rectal cancer. The relative survival rate measures the survival of cancer patients in comparison to the general population to estimate the effect of cancer. The overall 5-year relative rectal cancer survival rate for 1996-2002 was 64.1 percent. The 5-year relative rectal cancer survival rates by race and sex were:
  • 66.0 percent for white men
  • 64.2 percent for white women
  • 55.6 percent for black men
  • 53.9 percent for black women.

Rectal Cancer Prognosis: Stage Impact

The stage of the disease plays a role in the rectal cancer prognosis. Based on historical data:
  • 39 percent of rectal cancer cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still confined to the primary site (localized stage)
  • 37 percent of rectal cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or directly beyond the primary site
  • 19 percent of rectal cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has already metastasized (distant stage)
  • 5 percent of rectal cancer cases had staging information that was unknown.
The corresponding 5-year relative rectal survival rates were:
  • 90.4 percent for localized
  • 68.1 percent for regional
  • 9.8 percent for distant
  • 34.6 percent for unstaged.
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Rectal Cancer Information

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