Colon Cancer Diagnosis

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COLON CANCER Diagnosis

Colon cancer diagnosis requires a general physical exam, digital rectal exam, and one or more of the following tests:

  • Radiographs (barium enema/lower gastrointestinal series)
  • Stool tests that include a fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
  • Visual colonoscopy (CT scans)
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Biopsy

Stages of colon cancer

The stage of colon cancer is important in determining the treatment plan. Colorectal cancer has stage 0 to IV.

Stage 0: At this stage, abnormal cells are limited to the innermost layer of the colon. This stage is also known as carcinoma in situ, which means the cancer is limited to the cells where it formed and has not invaded nearby tissues.

Stage I:  Cancer has spread to the submucosa or the muscles underlying the innermost layer of the colon.

Stage II: This stage is further divided into sub-stage IIA, IIB, and IIC

  • Stage IIA means that cancer spreads to the outermost layer (serosa) of the colon.
  • Stage IIB means that cancer spreads from the outermost layer of the colon to visceral peritoneum (the layer of tissue that lines the organs in the abdomen).
  • Stage IIC means that cancer spreads from colon to the nearby organs, but has not yet involved lymph nodes.

Stage III: This stage is also divided into three sub-stages: Stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.

  • Stage IIIA means that cancer has spread to the muscular layer of the colon and 1-3 nearby lymph nodes.
    OR
    Cancer has spread from the innermost layer to the immediately underlying layer of the colon, i.e., submucosa, and has spread to 4-6 nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIB means that cancer has spread from the muscular layer of the colon to the serosa, or has spread from serosa to visceral peritoneum, and has involved 1-3 nearby lymph nodes.
    OR
    Cancer has spread from the muscular layer of the colon to serosa and has spread to 4-6 nearby lymph nodes.
    OR
    Cancer has spread from the innermost layer to the immediately underlying layer of the colon, i.e., submucosa, and has spread to 7 or more nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIC means that cancer has spread from serosa to visceral peritoneum and has spread to 4-6 nearby lymph nodes.
    OR
    Cancer has spread from the muscular layer of the colon to the serosa, or has spread from serosa to visceral peritoneum and has spread to 7 or more nearby lymph nodes.
    OR
    Cancer has spread from serosa to nearby organs and has involved one or more nearby lymph nodes.

Stage IV: This stage indicates that cancer has spread to other organs, lymph nodes and/or areas of the body that are not near the colon, such as lungs, ovaries, and liver.

  • Stage IVA means that cancer has spread to one distant organ of the body.
  • Stage IVB means that cancer has spread to more than one body part.
  • Stage IVC means that cancer has spread to peritoneum (a membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity) and may also have spread to other body parts and organs.
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