Stages Of Colon Cancer
Tumor & Cancer. Colorectal cancer or colon cancer is a type of cancer that starts growing in the large intestine specifically in the colon (large intestine) or rectum (the end part of the colon). Just like any other types of cancer, you’ll find stages of colon cancer based on the extent of cancer. How far has cancer spread? The farther, the more distant it has spread, the higher the cancer stage will be.
The Classifications and Staging of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer will be staged and the classified. The stages of colon cancer are started from stage 0 all the way to stage 4. Furthermore, there are sub-stages that include more details about cancer’s extent.
Stage 0 is the earliest stage. Colon cancer has yet to grow beyond the innermost layer of colon or known as the mucosa.
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Stage 1 is a stage where colon cancer has grown to the mucosa and to the nest colon layer called the submucosa.
Stage 2 is a point where the disease gets a little bit more advanced. Cancer has spread further beyond the layers of colon but not yet reaching the nearby lymph nodes. For stage 2 colon cancer, there are three sub-stages.
- 2A is when cancer has reached outer colon layers.
- 2B is a point where cancer has grown through the outer colon layers and to the visceral peritoneum (the membrane responsible for holding abdominal organs in their place).
- 2C is when cancer has grown through other colon layers and to the nearby structures or organs.
Stage 3 is an advanced stage where cancer has grown out through the muscular colon layers and to the nearby lymph nodes and organs. But it has yet to reach the distant lymph nodes or organs. There are three further classifications.
- 3A is a stage of cancer that has grown out through colon layers and can be found in the nearby lymph nodes.
- 3B is a point whether cancer starts to penetrate the visceral peritoneum or invades other structures or organs. It can be found in one to three nearby lymph nodes.
- 3C happens when cancer has grown beyond the colon layers and also found in four or more nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 4 is the most advanced stage where cancer has spread further beyond colon layers to the distant organs and lymph nodes such as liver and lungs.
- 4A is when cancer has reached a distant site.
- 4B is when cancer has spread to two or even more distant sites.
The Classifications Based on Abnormal Cells
Aside from the four stages of colon cancer mentioned above, colon cancer is also categorized as high-grade and low-grade. When the cancer cells are examined under the microscope, some will look like healthy cells (referred as abnormal cells). There will be numbers (from 1 to 4) assigned based on the amount of the seemingly healthy cells.
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The higher amount of abnormal cells indicates the higher grade. The growth of colon cancer will depend on these grades. The low-grade colorectal cancer will usually grow and spread slower compared to the high-grade colorectal cancer. The prognosis of people with low-grade cancer is also considered higher or better.