The 5-year relative survival for bowel cancer increased from 48% to 66%

'Relative survival' estimates are considered when examining survival from cancer.
 
These estimates are derived by comparing the survival of people diagnosed with cancer (observed survival) with that expected by people in the general population of equivalent age, sex and calendar year (expected survival).
 
The ratio of observed to expected survival is used as an indicator of the proportion of people who survived their cancer.
 
For example, 5-year relative survival of 60% for people diagnosed with a particular type of cancer means that these people had a six in ten chance of surviving five years after diagnosis relative to comparable people in the general population.
 
Please note that it does not reflect an individual's chance of surviving cancer.  
 
About Bowel Cancer Survival 770v2newFINAL
 
How long an individual will live after a diagnosis of cancer is affected by a range of factors, such as the specific characteristics of the individual, the cancer they have and the treatments received.
 
The 5-year relative survival for bowel cancer increased from 48% to 66% between 1982-1987 and 2006-2010.
 
South Australian data (Epidemiology of cancer in South Australia. Incidence, mortality and survival 1977 to 1996) has shown that 5-year survival varies with stage:
 
  • 88% for Stage I (confined to the bowel wall);
  • 70% for Stage II (confined to the bowel wall),
  • 43% for stage III (regional nodal involvement), and
  • 7% for stage IV (distant metastases).

A 2004 American study has shown that the 5-year survival rate was around:
 
  • 93% for people diagnosed with Stage I bowel cancer;
  • 82% for people diagnosed with Stage II bowel cancer;
  • 59% for people diagnosed with Stage III bowel cancer; and
  • 8% for people diagnosed with Stage IV or metastatic bowel cancer.

Similar rates have been shown in Western Australia research (Morris, Lacopetta and Platell 2007).  The 5-year survival rate was around:
 
  • 92% for people diagnosed with Stage I bowel cancer and managed treated in private hospitals (89% for people treated in public hospitals);
  • 83% for people diagnosed with Stage II bowel cancer and treated in private hospitals (74% for people treated in public hospitals);
  • 52% for people diagnosed with Stage III bowel cancer and treated in private hospitals (44% for people treated in public hospitals); and
  • 19% for people diagnosed with Stage IV or metastatic bowel cancer in private hospitals (13% for people treated in public hospitals).

All three studies and 5-year survival rates are illustrated on the chart below.
 
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