When evaluating the progress of a patient suffering from colon cancer, a physician uses a system called staging. This system involves a process that helps a physician determine to what extent the colon cancer tumor has spread to other parts of the patient’s body. Once a physician has determined the stage of the colon cancer, it makes developing a treatment plan more effective.
The American Joint Committee on Cancer, also known as AJCC, developed the most common system used for staging colon cancer. The AJCC’s TNM staging system places the development of a patient’s colon cancer tumor within one of four categories.
The following shows the different categories, or stages, of cancer as defined by The American Joint Committee on Cancer’s TNM staging system. Knowing the stage of colon cancer is vital in treating it, for both physicians and patients.
Colorectal cancer, also known as carcinoma in situ, is first classified as Stage 0. In this initial stage, colon cancer has been diagnosed only in the inner lining of the colon, but it has not spread throughout the colon or to other parts of the body.
This stage indicates that the colorectal cancer
has spread. It is still usually in the innermost lining of the colon or rectum, but it has not yet reached the outer walls of the colon. Also known as Duke A colorectal cancer, Stage I colon cancer basically means the cancer has spread, but not outside of the colon.
A classification of Stage II means the colon cancer has spread deeply through or into the lining of the rectum or colon. The colon cancer may also have spread to affect other tissue in the body, but the cancer has not yet spread to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are glands in the body that fight off diseases and infections. Stage II is also known as Duke B colorectal cancer.
Stage III, also called Duke C colorectal cancer, means the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. While it has affected the lymph nodes as this stage, it has not spread to other parts of the body.
In Stage IV, the colon cancer has gained strength, spreading throughout the lymph nodes and to other tissues of the body. In a process called metastasis, the lungs, liver, and possibly other major organs of the body are affected. This Stage IV of colon cancer is also known as Duke D colorectal cancer.
Cancerous Cells Or Recurrent Cancer
Recurrent colon cancer is a stage where cancerous cells previously treated have returned. The cancerous cells may return in the form of colon cancer or another type of cancer in a different part of the body.
It is important to understand the stages of colon cancer. This staging system developed by The American Joint Committee on Cancer helps both patients and physicians classify the severity of this disease. Knowing the severity allows a physician to develop the best form of treatment