Colorectal Cancer: Stages and Prognosis

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, refers to the cancer develops in the large intestine (colon). Colorectal cancer often develops from small clumps (adenomatous polyps) in the large intestine. These clumps may be noncancerous at first, but they may cause colorectal cancer over time.

What are the stages of colorectal cancer?

Generally, colorectal cancer has 4 stages. If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, you need to do some imaging tests to determine the stage of the cancer. The stages of colorectal cancer involve:

  • Stage I.
    The cancer cells have grown through the superficial lining of the colon or rectum but not spread beyond the colon wall or rectum.
  • Stage II.
    The cancer cells have grown into or through the wall of the colon or rectum but not spread to nearby lymph nodes. According to the extent of metastasis, stage II can be further divided into IIA, IIB and IIC.
  • Stage III.
    The cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes but not spread to other parts of your body. According to the extent of metastasis, stage III can be also further divided into IIIA, IIIB and IIIC.
  • Stage IV.
    The cancer cells have spread to other organs, such as liver or lung.

What is the prognosis for colorectal cancer´╝č

A 5-year survival rate is often used to describe the survival rate of colorectal cancer, but, actually, many people live longer than 5 years.

According to National Cancer Institute, the 5-year survival rates of colorectal cancer are:

  • Stage I: 92%.
  • Stage II: 72-85%.
  • Stage III: 44-83%.
  • Stage IV: 12%.

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