There are five major stages of colon cancer: 0, I, II, III and IV. Stages II through IV are also divided into substages that indicate how the cancer has spread within each stage, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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.
Cologuard is an at-home colon cancer test introduced in 2014, reports WebMD. It is more accurate than the fecal occult blood test historically used for colon cancer screening, but it is not a replacement for a colonoscopy.
There are no symptoms during the early stages of colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. For this reason, the ACS recommends doctors screen men and women for this disease when they reach age 50. Those with a family history of this cancer begin screenings at an earlier age.
Persistent abdominal pain, sometimes associated with gas or cramps, may occur in patients with colon cancer, states Mayo Clinic. In the early stages of the disease, there are often no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they vary depending on the size of the cancer and its location within the large intes
The treatment options for colon cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, according to the American Cancer Society. The type of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer.
Colon cancer can break away and spread, or metastatize, to the lungs, explains PubMed Central. The cancer spreads through the lymphatic or blood system, states the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Some types of colorectal cancer are hereditary and caused by genetic abnormalities or mutations. Familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer are the most common types of inherited colorectal cancers, according to WebMD.
Colon cancer can often be treated and cured in its early stages with surgery to remove affected tissues and surrounding lymph nodes, according to the American Cancer Society. Chemotherapy is often recommended following surgery. Later-stage colon cancers are treatable with chemotherapy and radiation,
Most polyps are benign or noncancerous, according to the American Cancer Society. However, some types of polyps can lead to colon cancer, depending on the type of polyp and certain risk factors.