Colon cancer, as the name suggests, is the cancer that affects the colon.
This cancer also originates in the rectum, hence the name rectal cancer or colorectal cancer.
The colon and rectum makes up the large intestine, which is the lower part of the digestive tract. The large intestine lies in the abdomen between the small intestine and the anus.
In the United States, it is third most common cancer in both men and women. It is found that men have a one in nineteen chance and women have a one in twenty-nine chances of developing colon cancer in their life.
The colon cancer starts developing from an existing growth on the inner lining of the colon or the rectum. These growths are called polyps. Once cancer forms within a polyp, it ultimately starts to grow into the wall of the colon or rectum, damaging the organs and tissues surrounding them.
Stage Of Colon Cancer
The colon cancer can develop in five different stages (0-4) along with other stage known as recurring stage. The staging indicates the extent of the cancer from the original site to other parts of the body.
It is the earliest stage of colon cancer and is also known as carcinoma in situ. It is so called because ‘carcinoma’ refers to start of the cancer in the tissue and ‘in situ’ refers to original position.
In this stage, the cancer doesn’t move from the place where it is started, it only grows within the lining of the colon or rectum and confines to polyp.
The colon cancer in this stage grows through several layers of the colon extending beyond the innermost layer of the colon into the middle layers of the colon.
However, it involves only within the inner lining of the colon and doesn’t spread outside the colon. The polyp develops into a tumor and extends inside the wall of the colon or rectum.
This stage of colon cancer occurs only when the cancer penetrates the walls of the colon and moves beyond the middle layers of the colon and spreads to the surrounding tissues of the colon without spreading to the lymph nodes. This kind of cancer spreading from one part of the body to another is known as metastasis.
This stage of colon cancer is considered as an advanced stage. In this stage, the cancer spreads outside the colon and to the lymph nodes around the colon. However, the cancer doesn’t spread to other parts or organs in the body.
It is the most advanced stage of colon cancer. The colon cancer in this stage spreads to other parts or organs of the body such as the lungs, the liver or ovaries.
Stages of colon cancer help doctors to determine the extent of the cancer in the body and the type of treatment essential to treat the colon cancer.
Cancer can also come back again after treatment, which is known as recurrent cancer. So, regular check ups are essential to determine the recurrent cancer in the early stages.