Q:

What is stage 4 colon cancer?

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Quick Answer

Stage IV colon cancer is when the cancer has spread through the lymph nodes and the blood to other parts of the body, such as the lung, liver, ovaries or abdominal wall, according to the National Cancer Institute. Stage IV colon cancer is composed of stage IVA and stage IVB.

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What is stage 4 colon cancer?
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Full Answer

Stage IVA refers to the cancer spreading through the colon wall to nearby organs or lymph nodes, explains the National Cancer Institute. The cancer has spread to one organ, such as a lung or an ovary. In this case, the cancer has metastasized to a single location. Stage IVB refers to the cancer also spreading through the colon wall, but to more than one organ. The cancer is widespread and cannot be treated with surgery, notes Texas Oncology. Some patients can still be cured or receive substantial benefit from additional treatment even though they have stage IV colon cancer.

Patients with cancer in one location benefit from treatment directed to that site. Most patients diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer have widespread disease, according to Texas Oncology. New combinations of chemotherapy drugs and targeted therapies have improved these patients' outcomes. Treatment for stage IV colon cancer includes radiation and surgery, and treatment that includes more than one technique has helped increase patients' chance of cure or increase their life expectancy.

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