For additional resources and information, see:
Colon cancer is, in many cases, a treatable disease if it is caught early.
How well you do depends on many things, including the stage of the cancer. In general, when they are treated at an early stage, many patients survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis. (This is called the 5-year survival rate.)
If the colon cancer does not come back (recur) within 5 years, it is considered cured. Stage I, II, and III cancers are considered potentially curable. In most cases, stage IV cancer is not considered curable, although there are exceptions.
- Blockage of the colon
- Cancer returning in the colon
- Cancer spreading to other organs or tissues (
- Development of a second primary colorectal cancer
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have:
- Black, tar-like stools
- Blood during a bowel movement
- Change in bowel habits
Review Date: 12/28/2010
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.