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Understanding Colon Cancer Stages

Colon cancer is divided into five main stages. Stages are assigned based on the extent of cancer in the body, with more extensive disease indicated by higher numbers. Doctors use imaging tests and pathology reports to stage colon cancer.

The stage of your cancer will guide your doctor at Dignity Health North State when creating your personalized colon cancer treatment plan. To learn more about Glendale Memorial's Colorectal Care Center, please call (818) 244-8161 or use our online feature for a physician referral, Find a Doctor.

Stages of Colon Cancer

There are five stages of colon cancer. Zero represents the least extensive, or earliest stage of the disease, while four is the most extensive, or latest stage. Cancer stage depends on:

  • If the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes
  • How deep the tumor has grown into the wall of your colon
  • Whether the cancer has metastasized (spread) to other organs

Stage 0

Stage 0 colon cancer is limited to the innermost lining of the colon. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or metastasized to other organs. Your doctor may remove stage 0 cancer cells during a colonoscopy, but surgery may be necessary to remove all of it.

Stage I

Stage I colon cancer is still confined to the colon, but is found deeper in the lining of the colon. Treatment is likely to to be successful at this stage. Surgery is used to remove stage I cancer as well as a portion of the colon.

Stage II

Some stage II cancers are limited to the wall of the colon, while others may grow through the wall and into nearby organs and tissues. Stage II cancer has not reached to lymph nodes and has not metastasized to distant organs. Treatment consists of surgery, which is sometimes combined with chemotherapy.

Stage III

Stage III cancer has spread to tissues near the lymph nodes or into the lymph nodes themselves. It has not spread to organs far from the colon. Treatment options consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Stage IV

Stage IV cancer has metastasized to other organs in the body. Doctors will use a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation to remove or shrink cancer cells, prevent complications, ease symptoms, and help you live longer.


Addressing Your Colon Cancer Stage at the Colorectal Care Center at Glendale Memorial Hospital 

Staging helps your doctor plan your treatment, determine appropriate follow-up care, and predict the chances of recurrence and recovery. At Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, we offer advanced treatments for every stage of colon cancer with a focus on healing, respect, and humankindness.