Lymph Node Involvement in Colon Cancer

lymphatic system

Image © A.D.A.M.

Your doctor mentioned that he checked eight lymph nodes during your bowel resection. What does that mean? Is that bad? Turns out, a study posted in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) re-examined the correlation between lymph node evaluation and the prognosis and treatment of colon cancer using 1,320 patients, a nomogram, and years of data.

Although the study only focused on non-metastatic patients who had received primary treatment in the form of a bowel resection, the data reminds us how important it is to treat each colon cancer survivor as an individual - there is not one "mold" that fits each person.

According to the American Cancer Society, your lymph nodes play an integral part in the staging and grading of your colon cancer. Your lymph nodes are connected by a system -- a networking throughout your body. If multiple lymph nodes are involved in the cancer diagnosis, your stage and grade could progress from a stage II to a stage III colon cancer, for instance. The doctor will use this information to help determine your prognosis, according to the American Cancer Society.

The colon cancer's stage and grade are also used to help develop the best possible treatment options tailored for you. As pointed out in the JCO study, the more we know about the future behavior of colon cancers (which ones recur, where recurrence most frequently pops up, which treatment modalities lessen the chance of recurrence), the better armed we are to treat each person and scenario.

The study also reported that out of the participants, 243 people had a recurrence of colon cancer - or about 18 percent.

In this study, the high-risk patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy had a 40 to 50 percent reduced risk of recurrence.

The good news? Science is looking to the past to help future generations with colon cancer. Regardless of whether you are a colon cancer survivor or have never been diagnosed, colon cancer screening can save lives.

Connect with Julie: Facebook@Abtcoloncancer


American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Staging. Accessed February 21, 2012.

Weiser, M.R., Landmann, R.G., Kattan, M.W., et al. (January 2008). Individualized Prediction of Colon Cancer Recurrence Using a Nomogram. Journal of Clinical Oncology: (26) 3. Accessed online February 17, 2012 at DOI 10.1200/JCO.2007.14.1291.

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