Colon Cancer Home > Rectal Cancer Stages

Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy With Biopsy
A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy is a procedure conducted to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. A sigmoidoscope or colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon. Polyps or tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.
Endorectal Ultrasound
For this test, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum. The probe sends out sound waves that people cannot hear. The waves bounce off the rectum and nearby tissues, and a computer uses the echoes to create a picture. The picture shows how deep a rectal tumor has grown or whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other nearby tissues.

The Specifics on Rectal Cancer Stages

Once the appropriate tests have been completed, doctors are able to stage rectal cancer. The different rectal cancer stages described below are:
  • Stage 0
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent rectal cancer.
Stage 0 Rectal Cancer
In stage 0 rectal cancer, the cancer is found only in the innermost lining of the rectum. Stage 0 rectal cancer is also known as carcinoma in situ.
Stage I Rectal Cancer
In stage I, cancer has spread beyond the innermost lining of the rectum to the second and third layers and involves the inside wall of the rectum; however, it has not spread to the outer wall of the rectum or outside the rectum. Stage I rectal cancer is sometimes called Dukes' A rectal cancer.
Stage II Rectal Cancer
In stage II rectal cancer, the cancer has spread outside the rectum to nearby tissue, but it has not gone into the lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures found throughout the body that filter substances in a fluid called lymph and help fight infection and disease). Stage II rectal cancer is also known as Dukes' B rectal cancer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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