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Dr. Praveen Kammar


Surgical Oncologist

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Stomach Tumor | 30 May 2022, Monday

All Stages of Colorectal Cancer

stages of colorectal cancer

The digestive system ends with the large intestine. It comprises two parts: the colon and the rectum, which ends in the anus. Colorectal cancer refers to cancers of the colon and rectum.

Most colorectal malignancies begin as polyps, tiny tissue overgrowths in the colon’s lining. Most polyps are benign (non-cancerous), but some might grow uncontrollably and progress to malignancy. When colon or rectum cells divide too quickly, colorectal tumours develop.

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Where does Colorectal Cancer spread first?

Metastasis is the medical term for the spread of cancer. Cancer spreads from one organ or tissue to another inside the body, known as metastasis. Cancer cells retain their name even after progressing to other organs. Therefore, even if colon cancer has reached the lungs, it is still referred to be colon cancer; however, the term “metastatic” is added to the diagnosis, making it metastatic colon cancer.
what are stages of colorectal cancer

The polyps have penetrated the colon wall while the malignancy is still in its early stages. When this occurs, there is a possibility that cancer may spread to surrounding lymph nodes. This may facilitate its passage to other parts of the body.

Constipation, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and a noticeable change in bowel habits are signs of cancer spreading into the colon wall. You can also observe that your feces are pencil-thin and experience cramping in your stomach. 

Also Read : What is Colostomy?

What is The Average Age of Colorectal Cancer & Why?

Many individuals under the age of 35 are receiving colorectal cancer diagnoses. Compared to 3 to 5 percent of all patients, about one-third of colorectal cancer patients in that age range had an inherited genetic mutation that led to their cancer.

Approximately 15 to 20 percent of colorectal cancer individuals under the age of 35, as opposed to 12 to 15 percent of all colorectal cancer patients, have a family record of colorectal cancer or another malignancy that suggests they may be at a greater risk.

Therefore, a significant fraction of colorectal malignancies in these young individuals is caused by family history and genetics.

Also Read : Why is Liver Cancer so deadly?

stages of colorectal cancer

Stages of Colorectal Cancer

Colon cancer progresses via the following stages:

Stage 0 :

Colon cancer in its earlier stages. Stage 0 cancer refers to tumours that have not spread beyond the mucosa, the colon’s innermost layer.

Stage 1 :

In stage 1 colon cancer, cancer has spread from the mucosa, the colon’s inner lining, to the next layer (the submucosa). Additionally, it may have developed into the muscularis propria, a layer of muscle. The lymph nodes have not been affected by the expansion.

Stage 2 :

Stage 2 colon cancer is a bit more advanced than stage 1 and has spread through the mucosa and the submucosa.

Stage 2 colon cancer may be subdivided into 2A, 2B, or 2C.

  • Stage 2A: Cancer’s spread has not affected the lymph nodes or adjacent tissue. The colon’s outermost layers have been reached, but not entirely.
  • Stage 2B: Although cancer has not yet metastasized to the lymph nodes, it has penetrated the colon’s outer layer and reached the visceral peritoneum. The organs of the abdomen are held in place by this membrane.
  • Stage 2C: Cancer’s spread has not affected the lymph nodes. However, it has spread to surrounding organs or tissues and through the colon’s outer layer.

Stage 3

Stage 3 colon cancer may be stage 3A, 3B, or 3C.

  • Stage 3A: The colon’s muscular layers have been reached by the tumor, which has also spread to surrounding lymph nodes. It hasn’t progressed to distant nodes or organs.
  • Stage 3B:
     If one of the following applies, colon cancer would be categorized as stage 3B:– The tumor has grown past the colon’s outermost layers and into the visceral peritoneum and other organs and systems. Additionally, one to three lymph nodes also have it.


    – Although the tumor has not penetrated the colon’s outermost layers, it has been discovered in four or more neighboring lymph nodes.

  • Stage 3C: The tumor has become more extensive than the layers of muscles. Four or more lymph nodes close by are likewise cancer-positive, but not those further away.

Stage 4

Stage 4 colon cancer may be stage 4A, 4B, or 4C.

  • Stage 4A: This stage denotes the growth of cancer in a single distant location, such as the liver, lungs, or lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4B: The peritoneum has not been affected by the malignancy, despite it having progressed to two or more distant places.
  • Stage 4C: The peritoneum has been affected by cancer’s progress.

In which stages Colorectal Cancer is most treatable

The good news is that most patients in stages 0 to 3 can be cured. To improve the likelihood of curing the illness, many individuals with stage III colorectal cancer and others with stage II need to take chemotherapy following surgery. With the advances in treatments and constantly improving understanding of this disease, now it is possible to cure some of the stage 4 colon cancers.


It is crucial to undergo routine colon cancer screenings if you are considered to be at high risk of colon cancer. This is necessary since most precancerous polyps exhibit little signs. Your surgeon can locate and eliminate polyps before they develop into cancer because of colorectal cancer screening tests.



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