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Colon Cancer Stages

Chest X-ray
X-rays of the chest can show whether cancer has spread to the lungs.
CT Scan
In a CT scan, an x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The patient may receive an injection of dye to make the pictures easier to see. Tumors in the liver, lungs, or elsewhere in the body show up on the CT scan.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the colon. A substance called gadolinium is injected into the patient through a vein. The gadolinium collects around the cancer cells so they appear brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
Lymph Node Biopsy
A lymph node biopsy is a procedure in which all or part of a lymph node is removed. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
In some cases, surgery is performed to remove the tumor and see how far it has spread through the colon.

The Specific Stages

Once the appropriate colon cancer staging tests have been completed, doctors are able to stage the cancer. The different colon cancer stages include:
  • Stage 0
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent colon cancer.
Stage 0
In stage 0, the cancer is found only in the innermost lining of the colon or rectum. Stage 0 is also known as carcinoma in situ.
Stage I
In this stage, the cancer has grown into the inner wall of the colon. The tumor has not reached the outer wall of the colon or extended outside the colon. Stage 1 is also sometimes called Dukes' A colon cancer.
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