Symptoms and Stages of Colon Cancer
Colon or bowel cancer is a kind of cancer which occurs in the large intestine. The final part of the digestive tract is the colon. Although it can happen at any age, Colon Cancer affects older adults mostly.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
- The persistent changes on bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation
- Changes in the consistency of stool
- Rectal bleeding
- The blood in stool
- Persistent abdominal stress, such as cramps, gas or pain
- Weight loss
- Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Stages of Colon Cancer
Colon Cancer stages vary stage 0 to stage 4.
This is the earliest stage. The disease at this stage is also referred to as carcinoma in situ or intramucosal martinoma. Cancer cells are only in the mucosa layer, which is the most inner wall layer of the colon or rectum.
Cancer cells have reached a lower layer T1 called the submucosa from the mucosa or the muscle layer T2 below it. No regional lymph nodes or distant metastasis.
Cancer which has invaded the mucosa and the submucosa is considered stage 1 Colon cancer. The submucosa is the underlining of the large intestine and lies beneath the mucosa.
In stage 1, colon cancer, malignant cells may have also affected the deeper muscle layer of the colon wall but have not spread any areas outside of the colon.
When cancer spread past the colon wall, but has not affected the lymph nodes, it is considered stage 2 colon cancer and it is subdivided into three stages which are;
Stage 2A Cancer has spread to the serosa, or outer colon wall, but not beyond that outer barrier.
Stage 2B Cancer has spread past the serosa but has not affected nearby organs.
Stage 2C Cancer has affected the serosa and the neighboring organs.
Cancer that has spread past the lining of the colon and has affected the lymph nodes is considered stage 3 colon cancer. In this stage, even though the lymph nodes are affected by, the cancer has not yet affected other organs in the body.
In stage 4
The cancer has spread to other organs in the body through the blood and lymph nodes. The cancer has metastasized to more than one distant organ mostly liver and lung or distant lymph nodes or the distal areas within the abdomen.
Another Classification System for Colon Cancer
There is one more classification system for Colon Cancer besides Colon Cancer Stages, known as low-grade or high-grade. On the higher grade, there are more abnormal cells. Low-grade cancers used to grow slower than high-grade cancers.