Now a 16-year study show an increase in survival rates and that comes as no surprise to an area cancer specialist.
A study out of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center shows that survival rates from metastatic colorectal cancer have dramatically improved in the past 15 years. Patients are living an average of three years after diagnosis. Doctors at the center credit both improved chemotherapy and advances in surgery for metasteses
As far as chemotherapy advances, at Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Oncologist Dr. Ibrahim Sbeitan said about ten years ago, he had only one or two drugs to chose from. Now he has seven and he choses the best for each patient by profiling their particular cancer.
Dr. Sbeitan explained, "we try to run certain genetic testing, certain receptors in the cancer cells to have a better understanding of that colon cancer and then after that, we tailor the treatment to that patient."
The Conemaugh doctor said he's had quite a few patients who've sruvived stage 4 colorectal cancer for many years.