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Patients whose degree of spread assessment suggests a localised cancer (stages I-III) are candidates for surgical treatment, in the case of colon cancer, or combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed by surgery, in the case of rectal cancer.
The 5-year survival rate varies between 50% and 90% depending on the stage. In patients with node-negative colon cancer (stage I-II), the 5-year survival rate ranges from 80–90%.
However in patients with node-positive cancer (stage III), this rate varies between 40% and 70% depending on the number of nodes resected (more nodes resected equals a better prognosis) and how many were affected (less nodes affected equals a better prognosis).
Patients with stage IV colorectal cancer present a poor prognosis, with a median survival of 1–3 years depending on the disease’s spread, tumour biology (aggressiveness), patient’s age and any additional medical problems (comorbidities).
We must highlight a group of patients with a better prognosis; cases of exclusively hepatic, and asymptomatic, metastases featuring three or less liver nodules measuring less than 5 cm. This group represents 10% of all metastatic patients. They present a greater survival rate; 40–50% are alive 5 years after diagnosis.