What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine and rectum. It is the third most common cancer worldwide, with over 1 million new cases diagnosed yearly. Despite its high case count, colon cancer is often preventable and highly treatable when detected early through regular screenings. This article will discuss the different stages of colon cancer and how you can be screened for colon cancer to detect it as early as possible.
Stage 0 Colon Cancer
Stage 0 colon cancer is the earliest stage of the disease. It may also be called carcinoma in situ, which means “cancer on site.”
This early stage of cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop on the inner layer (mucosa) of the colon or rectal wall, with very little or no invasion.
With Stage 0, cancer has not spread to other body parts and poses a low risk of recurrence after treatment.
Stage I Colon Cancer
Stage I colon cancer is in the early stage of the disease and often has a favorable prognosis.
At this stage, the tumor has grown into the inner layer of the colon (mucosa) but is confined to the area or set of lymph nodes where it developed initially.
In Stage I, the tumor can be any size, but it has not spread beyond its point of origin. When found in the early stages, surgery to remove the tumor is typically successful as long as there isn’t extensive involvement with other organs or lymph nodes.
Stage II Colon Cancer
Stage II colon cancer is when the tumor has grown through the colon’s wall and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Symptoms such as anemia, persistent fatigue, unintended weight loss, constipation, and abdominal pain can occur at this stage. Surgery is typically recommended upon diagnosis, as well as chemotherapy, to target and kill cancer cells that remain after surgery.
Though many patients with stage II colon cancer continue to survive their diagnosis, those with more widely spread tumors or poor health before diagnosis may have a worse prognosis.
Treatment options at stage II are critically important for a successful outcome, and removal of the entire tumor must be achieved for a successful recovery. This requires an experienced surgeon who will consider how far along the tumor has grown and its proximity to other organs
Stage III Colon Cancer
Stage III Colon Cancer is one of the more advanced stages of colon cancer, and it is associated with a significantly less favorable prognosis than the earlier stages.
During stage III, the tumor has increased in size and has likely spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Typically, it will also have penetrated through the colon’s wall into other parts of the abdominal area.
The severity of medical treatment required to treat stage three colon cancer depends on how much and how far it has spread.
Stage IV Colon Cancer
Stage IV colon cancer is the most advanced form of the disease and is considered to be incurable for most patients. The cancerous cells have spread beyond the chances of successful removal and instead require aggressive targeted treatments to improve symptoms and slow down progression.
In this stage, often referred to as metastatic cancer, one can find tumors in other organs in the body, such as the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.
Treatment primarily consists of chemotherapy drugs, such as 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), Oxaliplatin, Irinotecan, Capecitabine, or radiation therapy and other strategies. In some cases, surgical intervention may also be recommended.
BeScreened for Colon Cancer
Screening for colon cancer is essential for early detection and treatment, as it can help identify the disease before it can spread.
Thankfully in today’s modern world, you no longer have to endure a colonoscopy at the doctor to be screened for colon cancer.
BeScreened has a noninvasive blood-based screening method that is 94% accurate in detecting colon cancer. This test can be used once a year to catch colon cancer at any stage. Order online today and get tested for colon cancer at your nearest Any Lab Test Now facility, or talk to your doctor about getting screened at your annual checkup.
It is essential to talk to your doctor about when to start screening for colon cancer and which screening method is best for you. Don’t let fear or discomfort prevent you from taking this critical step in safeguarding your health. Getting screened for colon cancer could save your life.