Colon Cancer Stages
Colon cancer stages display the step-wise increase in the intensity of cancerous growth in the colon. Colon is the last part of the bowel present at its lower end. The main function of the colon is to absorb salts and water from the body waste before it gets eliminated. Hence, colon plays an important role in enabling the body tissues to supply necessary resources to other areas and enable the cell-growth process to perform normally. Thus, understanding stages of colon cancer may benefit in minimizing the amount of damage to colon and help in early detection and diagnosis of cancerous growth in the colon.
What are colon cancer stages?
Colon cancer is the cancerous development in the colon. This disease is more common in people above 45 years of age and occurs almost equally in both men and women. Hence, it is not restricted to any particular gender. Cancer in the colon is curable if detected in the initial or pre-cancerous stages when the tumors rarely show a tendency to metastasize.
Tumors formed in the colon can be easily eliminated by the way of surgery if a thorough diagnosis is done right in the early phase of cancerous growth. As time progresses, the symptoms displayed become difficult to interpret and the tumors begin to separate from the parent tumor and form separate lumps in other areas of the body. This process is known as metastasis.
Metastasis of tumors indicates the progress of cancer from a lower stage to a higher one. Nature and intensity of symptoms considerably change with increase in stage and identifying the infected cells becomes even more difficult.
Stages of colon cancer is a systematic sorting of behavior of malignant cells and the impact they put or may put on the victim's body. A particular stage describes an approximate nature and spread of tumors in the colon and also helps to understand whether the infection has spread to any other vital organs like bowels, rectum or lungs. Staging colon cancer is a complicated process and depends on the empirical findings of research.
Stages are an approximate and not the exact status of cancer in the colon. The main purpose of staging this cancer is to plan the detection and diagnosis pattern accordingly and undergo the best suitable treatment.
Colon cancer stages
Stages of colon cancer are the prime indicators of the size and spread of tumors. They can be displayed primarily in four stages. Stage 0 is the most basic stage of colon cancer. Cell abnormality is not much severe in this stage though some abnormal cells are detected in the innermost layer of the colon called mucosa. This stage is also commonly known as carcinoma in situ. Chances of survival are 100% if cell abnormality is detected in this stage. Normal medication or surgical methods are more than enough to cure the infected cells.
Stage 1 is the phase where the actual development of infected cells takes place. Though the stage is not severe, ignoring basic symptoms at this stage may pave way for fast growth of malignant cells in the colon. The infected cells present in the mucosa penetrate further into the tissues underneath and may also reach the muscles adjacent to the infected area. surgery on colon cancer is the best way to eliminate tumors at this stage and does not cause any major or permanent damage to the victim.
Stage 2 of colon cancer is divided into three subtypes as 2A, 2B and 2C. In stage 2A, the cancer cells spread from the muscular layer of colon to the serosa. Stage 2B is a phase where the cancer cells spread through the serosa but do not infect other adjacent areas. Stage 2C is the final phase of the second stage and the cancer cells start to spread from serosa to adjacent organs. Chances of eliminating tumors by surgical methods are fair in this stage.
Stage 3 is a more advanced stage of colon cancer. It is also divided into three subtypes as 3A, 3B and 3C. In stage 3A, the cancer cells spread from the mucosa to sub-mucosa level and also reaches at least one lymph node. Stage 3B is a phase where the cancer cells penetrate deep into the muscular layers of serosa and mucosa and spread to at least four lymph nodes. In stage 3A, the final phase of stage 3, the malignant cells continue with their metastasis and spread to seven or more lymph nodes. Cancer also spreads to other nearby vital organs and infects a large part of colon. In this stage, the chances of cure are comparatively less as compared to the earlier stages and surgery may not be sufficient to cure tumor cells. Other harsh methods like exposure to chemicals or radiations may have to be undergone.
Stage 4 is the final stage of colon cancer and the cells metastasize with maximum intensity. These malignant cells try to cover as much area as possible and cause maximum possible damage to colon and adjacent areas. The stage is sub-divided into 4A and 4B. In stage 4A, the cancer cells spread through lymph nodes to infect at least one vital organ like lungs, liver or ovary and also reach the lymph nodes present in the distant areas. Stage 4B is a phase where the malignant cells may form tumors in abdominal areas and also affect the bowel or rectum. This is the most severe stage of colon cancer and elimination of malignant tumors is extremely difficult. Also, the chances of regeneration of cancer cells in this stage is the highest and stern treatments like exposure of tumors to chemicals and radiations have to be undertaken.
Colon cancer stages form an important part of colon cancer research and help in exploring new breakthroughs to treat the disease in the most reliable manner. Stages are also important to make the victim realize the severity of tumor growth and the necessity to undergo a thorough and regular examination of the colon.