Recurrence and Treatment

Colorectal cancer has a high recurrence rate, and, upon recurrence, there is a high chance of distant metastasis. The 5-year relative survival rate for a patient with distant SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) stage colorectal cancer is only 14-15%.1

Recurrence of colorectal cancer can occur in three forms:

  • Loco-regional recurrence
  • Distant metastasis
  • Recurrence accompanying both loco-regional recurrence and distant metastasis

Colorectal cancer cells metastasize through blood and lymph vessels to other parts of the body such as liver, lungs, bone, brain, and lymph nodes. Thus, regular follow-up examinations are necessary for colorectal cancer patients for the earliest detection of metastasis and recurrence.

Difficulties of treating metastasized colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is divided into four stages, and treatment methods differ based on the stage.

Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

Patients with
stage I to stage III
Patients in
stage IV
  • Treated via radical surgery

  • If necessary, use of radiation and chemotherapy
  • Treatment is difficult because the cancer has already metastasized to distant sites

  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy may be considered

Discover how technology may change
the approach to colorectal cancer


  1. American Cancer Society. Survival Rates for Colorectal Cancer. Accessed July 27, 2020.