Once the cancer is found in your colon, it is important for your doctor to known its stage to determine the appropriate treatment. Your chances of recovery are closely related to the stage of tumor at the diagnosis. The therapeutic strategy is also adapted to each stage of the cancer.
In general, stages of colon cancer include:
- Carcinoma in situ – also called stage 0, carcinoma in situ is the earliest stage of the cancer; the tumor has not grown beyond the inner layer of the colon.
- Stage I – the cancer has grown within the inner layer of the colon without reaching the colon wall or rectum
- Stage II – at stage 2, the cancer has affected the inner layer and the wall of the colon, but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage III – a stage 3 colon cancer is serious condition; the cancer has affected the inner layer, the wall of the colon, nearby lymph nodes, but has not reached other parts of the body;
- Stage IV – at stage 4, the cancer has spread from the colon tissue to distant organs of your body such as liver and/or lungs.
- Recurrent – a cancer that has returned after treatment is considered as a recurrent cancer. In general, recurrent cancers are more difficult to be treated, and have low survival rates.