Colon cancer staging

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Colon Cancer Staging

Colon cancer staging (pronunciation: /ˈkoʊlən ˈkænsər ˈsteɪdʒɪŋ/) is a process used to determine the extent to which colon cancer has developed and spread, either to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. The staging is crucial in deciding the most effective treatment options and predicting patient prognosis.


The term "staging" is derived from the Old French estage, meaning "a place of residence". In the context of cancer, it refers to the extent of the disease. "Colon" is derived from the Greek kolon, meaning "large intestine", and "cancer" is derived from the Latin cancer, meaning "crab", due to the crab-like spread of an invasive tumor.

Stages of Colon Cancer

The stages of colon cancer are determined by the TNM staging system, which stands for Tumor, Node, Metastasis.

  • Stage 0: Also known as carcinoma in situ, the cancer is only in the innermost lining of the colon.
  • Stage I: The cancer has grown through the innermost lining of the colon but hasn't spread beyond the colon wall or rectum.
  • Stage II: This stage is divided into IIA, IIB, and IIC, depending on how far the cancer has spread into the wall of the colon and beyond.
  • Stage III: This stage is divided into IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, depending on whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and how many are affected.
  • Stage IV: This stage is divided into IVA and IVB, depending on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

Related Terms

  • Adenocarcinoma: The most common type of colon cancer, starting in cells that make mucus to lubricate the inside of the colon and rectum.
  • Lymph nodes: Small, bean-shaped structures that produce and store cells that fight infection and disease.
  • Metastasis: The process by which cancer spreads from the place at which it first arose as a primary tumor to distant locations in the body.

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