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Colon Cancer Stages

Once a diagnosis of colon cancer is made, the next step is to stage the cancer. The stage of cancer determines how far the cancer has spread, if at all, from its original location. Most importantly, staging offers a standardized language with which cancer care teams can communicate about their patient’s diagnosis and put together a treatment plan that will appropriately address the cancer.

Staging is done through a variety of tests including imaging procedures such as CT scans of the chest and abdomen.

By gathering all the pertinent information, doctors can determine the stage of the patient’s colon cancer and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

What are the stages of colon cancer?

Stage I:
This is the earliest stage of colon cancer. At this stage, the cancer remains isolated in the colon or rectum. While the cancer has grown through the mucosa – the lining of the colon and rectum – it hasn’t spread any further.

Stage II:
At stage II, the colon cancer has advanced slightly and has spread beyond the wall of the colon or rectum. At this stage, however, the cancer hasn’t reached any nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III:
This represents a cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes but has not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage IV:
At stage IV, colon cancer has spread past the colon, rectum, and nearby lymph nodes,  and now may affect nearby organs and tissues as well as distant parts of the body. Cancer may now be seen in the lungs or liver.

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