Colon Cancer

Mercy Cancer Center Meets or Exceeds State & National Standards for Breast Cancer

Colon Cancer Quality StandardsThe Mercy Cancer Center takes great pride in the care we deliver. To monitor the quality of that care, we track specific quality measures and compare them to benchmark measures. We think consumers have the right to know this information so you can draw your own conclusions regarding your health care choices.

Quality data can be confusing so Mercy Cancer Center is taking the initiative to publish this information in an understandable format. We invite you to review this information and please call us if you have questions. We are committed to providing the very highest quality cancer care.

Breast cancer quality data was the first to be published. Now we are sharing colon cancer quality data. Please refer back to our web site in the coming months to see quality data for other cancer diagnoses.

Colon Cancer Quality Data
Percentage of Early Stage Colon Cancer

Because disease stage at diagnosis significantly influences survival, it is critical to diagnose colon cancers as early as possible. Mercy Cancer Center tracks the percentage of colon cancers diagnosed at Stage 0 through II which offer individuals the greatest advantage of long-term survival. The key to early stage diagnosis is related to patient compliance with regular screening tests. Mercy Cancer Center is committed to educating people about the need for yearly fecal testing, colonoscopy and other screening tests.

Mercy National
% of Colon Cancers Diagnosed
at Stage 0-II
42.0% 51.0%
Source: CIRF Cancer Registry
5-Year Colon Cancer Survival Rate

Overall survival from colon cancer is the most important goal. Survival is tied to the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Five-year survival rate (the percentage of people who are still alive five years after diagnosis) is the standard measurement that is used to express the outlook for your disease. The cancer stage – noted as a number from 0 to IV – is based on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. The lower the number, the less disease. It is important to remember that these survival rates are based on averages. Some people with advanced colon cancer live significantly longer than projected survival rates and researchers are constantly developing new treatment alternatives to prolong colon cancer survival.

Mercy National
Combined All Stages 51.7% 51.5%
Source: CIRF Cancer Registry
Sampling of Lymph Nodes with Colon Resection

The prognosis of patients with colon cancer is generally related to the degree of invasion of the tumor through the bowel wall and the presence or absence of lymph node involvement and distant metastases. A number of recent studies have suggested improved survival among patients in whom a higher number of lymph nodes are examined after colon cancer surgery. Although somewhat controversial, the National Quality Forum in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology has endorsed a sampling of 12 or more nodes.

Everyone agrees that it is prudent to obtain a generous sampling of nodes understanding that some people have more nodes, some people have fewer; nodes can be large and easy to identify or small and difficult to find and the number may differ depending on which part of the colon contains the tumor. More complete node clearance may itself result in lower rates of local or distant cancer recurrence. Obtaining more lymph nodes may also benefit patients to the extent that it allows for more accurate cancer staging and thus more appropriate use of adjuvant chemotherapy. Whether such efforts will ultimately improve patient outcomes with colon cancer remain unclear.

Mercy National
% Colon Surgery Cases with
12 or More Nodes Sampled
94.7% 37.0%
Source: CIRF Cancer Registry
Journal of National Cancer Institute
Adjuvant Chemotherapy with Stage III Colon Cancer

The National Cancer Care Network (NCCN) provides cancer care guidelines for the treatment of colon cancer. The guidelines are established by an expert panel of physicians and if followed, offer patients the best outcomes. NCCN guidelines recommend that stage III colon cancer patients receive adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant therapy refers to additional treatment, usually given after surgery where all detectable disease has been removed, but where there remains a statistical risk of relapse due to hidden disease.

Mercy National
% of Minimally Invasive
Breast Biopsies
94.7% 80.0%
Source: CIRF Cancer Registry

Colon Cancer Testimonial

Other Measures of Quality
The mark of excellence can also be defined by other important quality indicators that are not demonstrated through statistics. Mercy Cancer Center is committed to excellence in cancer care as evidenced by:
  • Three-year accreditation with accommodation as a Comprehensive Community Hospital Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer
  • Timely and accurate submission of all patient data to the National Cancer Data Base
  • Weekly multidisciplinary Tumor Conferences
  • Mercy Medical Center Medical Staff comprised of 94% Board Certified Physicians
  • Mercy Surgeon with specialty certification by Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • 100% of Mercy Colon Cancer Specialists are Board Certified in their specialty including Medical Oncology, Surgery, Radiation Oncology and Gastroenterology