When it comes to stopping the spread of colon cancer, a recent study from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reveals that the disease could be arrested by removing lymph nodes. The findings of the study show that the more lymph nodes that are taken out of the patient’s body, the slower the colon cancer spread, and the higher the survival rate of those that contracted the disease.
This development came after a survey of 17 different studies from around the world. The results were similar across the board.
During a national clinical trial of 3,200 patients suffering from stage II colon cancer in the United States it was found that patients that had 20 or more lymph nodes taken out of their body had a 14 percent improvement in their survival rate when compared with those who had 11 or fewer lymph nodes removed.
Studies of stage III colon cancer showed that as the disease progressed, so did the potential for survival through lymphadenectomy. If 40 or more nodes were removed, patients were 23 percent more likely to survive than those with just 11 or excised.
Most of the studies were focused on stage II, but of those that examined more advanced cancer gave similar indications, often with ever increasing numbers of lymph node removal showing respectively positive results.
Many cancer treatments are still in the dark ages, with a hack-and-slash, salt-the-earth mentality still pervading in the industry as even the most conservative oncologists often take a “cut first” stance. But it could be that for now, in the choice between rapid, aggressive surgical intervention to save a life and allowing a form of cancer as progressive and pervasive as colon cancer to kill a patient is barely one that can be debated.
Watch the video below for an overview of colon cancer from MD Anderson:
The study is an encouragement to doctors to include lymph node removal when operating on colon cancer. Currently this is only done in approximately 1/3rd of cases. Many doctors opt not to take the time to trace blood vessels nearest to the tumor back to the lymphatic nodes associated with them. It is time-consuming and difficult, especially in patients that are significantly overweight or obese. By not adding the removal of lymph nodes to the standard surgical procedure in treating colon cancer, these doctors could be greatly reducing the likelihood of their patient’s survival.