Because early detection of colon cancer and rectal cancer directly impacts outcomes,
it is important to gain an understanding of symptoms, types, stages and risk factors of these diseases.
Stages of colorectal cancer
When colorectal cancer is diagnosed, tests will be performed to determine how much cancer is present. Diagnostics will also check to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This is called staging.
Staging is an important step in planning a treatment program. The National Cancer Institute defines the following stages for colorectal cancer:
- Stage 0 (Cancer in Situ): The cancer is found in the innermost lining of the colon.
- Stage I (also called Dukes’ A colon cancer): The cancer has spread beyond the innermost lining of the colon to the second and third layers and the inside wall of the colon. The cancer has not spread to the outer wall of the colon or outside of the colon.
- Stage II (also called Dukes’ B colon cancer): The cancer has spread deeper into the wall or outside the colon to nearby tissue. However, the lymph nodes are not involved.
- Stage III (also called Dukes’ C colon cancer): The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but has not spread to other organs in the body.
- Stage IV (also called Dukes’ D colon cancer): The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs.