Colon Cancer | Early Warning Signs & Stages of Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer Stages

A scale of numbers from 0 to 4 or a letter X is specified for each category. This scale represents the severity of the disease. If the number is small, the disease is less severe. If there is a higher number, the disease is more severe. For example: as T represents the size of the tumor, T1 is considered as the tumor with a smaller size, T2 is greater in size than T1 and T3 is much bigger than both T1 and T2 and so on to T4. Whereas the letter “X” is used when the information about the disease is not determined.

Similarly, N0 indicates no lymph node involvement, N1 means less than 4 lymph nodes are affected and N2 describes the involvement of more than 4 lymph nodes. M0 means no metastasis (the tumor is still localized and has not yet spread to the other organs) while M1 indicates the active metastasis of tumor tissues.

According to the TNM classification, colon cancer is classified into four different stages using some specific numbers and letters that are assigned to each category. These numbers are assigned according to the structure and shape of the colon, the size of the tumor and explain how much the tumor has spread outside of the colon. These stages include;

A) Stage 0 Colon Cancer

This stage is considered a non-cancerous stage that has the tendency to progress to the cancerous changes. Generally, stage zero means polyps or small abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum. These polyps are usually formed in the lining of the colon, a tissue known as mucosa. At an early stage, these abnormal outgrowths are restricted to one place, and no further spread has observed in the surroundings. This is termed as “Carcinoma in situ”. They should be removed immediately when observed. If not treated at an early stage, they may turn into cancer cells.