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Understanding Colon Cancer from Pre-cancer to Stage IV

Rachel Morrell

Understanding Colon Cancer from Pre-cancer to Stage IV

Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but it is highly treatable when diagnosed in the early stages (Source: Cancer.net).

Here is how colon cancer progresses from pre-cancer to stage IV:

Stage 0 — Cancer cells are only in the inner lining (mucosa) of the colon or rectum.

Stage I — The cancer has penetrated through the mucosa and has invaded the muscle layer of the colon or rectum. Lymph nodes and tissues are not affected.

Stage IIA — The cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum, but it has not spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes.

Stage IIB — The cancer has grown through the layers of the muscle to the lining of the abdomen (visceral peritoneum). It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other tissues.

Stage IIC — The cancer has spread through the wall of the colon or rectum and is invading nearby structures. It has not spread to lymph nodes or other tissues.

Stage IIIA — The cancer has grown into the muscle layers of the intestine and has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes or to a nodule of tumor in tissues around the colon or rectum that do not appear to be lymph nodes but has not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage IIIB — The cancer has grown through the intestinal wall or to surrounding organs and into 1 to 3 lymph nodes or to a nodule of tumor in tissues around the colon or rectum that do not appear to be lymph nodes. It has not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage IIIC — The cancer of the colon has spread to 4 or more lymph nodes but not to other distant parts of the body.

Stage IVA — The cancer has spread to a single distant part of the body such as the liver or lungs.

Stage IVB — The cancer has spread to more than 1 part of the body

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