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When you are diagnosed with colon cancer, your doctor will stage your cancer as a part of your diagnosis. To stage colon cancer, doctors use pathology reports and imaging tests such as CT scans.
At Dignity Health Central California hospitals, we understand that a cancer diagnosis can be scary. Expect your care team to provide care with humankindness at every turn. Our expert oncologists create your personalized treatment plan based on your colon cancer stage in Central California. Find a Doctor near you to get started.
There are five main stages of colon cancer. Stages are represented with Roman numerals starting with 0 and progressing to IV (four). Higher numbers indicate more advanced disease.
Cancer stage depends on:
Stage 0 is the earliest stage of colon cancer. In this stage, the cancer remains in the innermost lining of the colon. During a colonoscopy, your doctor may remove stage 0 cancer cells. However, additional surgery may be necessary.
Stage I cancer is still only in the colon, but it has grown deeper into the lining. Your doctor will surgically remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue of your colon.
Stage II colon cancer has spread to the outside layers of the colon, and may have grown through the wall into nearby organs or tissues. However, it has not spread to distant sites or to the lymph nodes. You will need surgery possibly followed by chemotherapy.
Stage III cancer has not yet spread to distant organs, however it has been found in the lymph nodes or tissues close to the colon. You will need some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.
Stage IV cancer has spread to other organs in the body. Sometimes, doctors can surgically remove stage IV cancers. Chemotherapy and radiation can help prolong life and prevent complications. Stage IV cancer and recurrent colon cancer may also be treated with targeted cancer therapy and clinical trial drugs.
In addition to guiding your colon cancer treatment, your doctor at Dignity Health Central California will also use colon cancer staging to determine the most appropriate checkup and follow-up care schedule for you. You can count on us to be with you every step of the way on your journey with colon cancer.