Staging the cancer

The stage of a cancer means the extent of the cancer. As soon as a colon cancer diagnosis has been made the doctor will determine its stage – this helps chose the most appropriate treatment. The stages of colon cancer are:

  • Stage 0 (Also known as Duke A stage). – the earliest stage. It is still within the mucosa (inner layer) of the colon or rectum – also called carcinoma in situ.
  • Stage I (Also known as Duke B stage). – it has grown through the inner layer of the colon or rectum, but has not yet spread beyond the wall of the rectum or colon.
  • Stage II (Also known as Duke C stage). – it has grown through or into the wall of the colon or rectum. However, it has not reached the nearby lymph nodes yet.
  • Stage III (Also known as Duke D stage). – the nearby lymph nodes have been invaded by the cancer, but it has not yet affected other parts of the body.
  • Stage IV (Also known as Duke E stage). – it has spread to other parts of the body, including other organs, such as the liver, the membrane lining the abdominal cavity, lung, or ovary.
  • Recurrent – the cancer has returned after treatment. It may come back and affect the rectum, colon, or elsewhere in the body. Scientists have found that the presence of a biomarker in regional lymph nodes is an independent predictor of disease recurrence in patients with colorectal cancer.