Colon Cancer Staging
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The first step toward making an educated treatment decision begins by learning about the stage, or progression, of your colon cancer. When colon cancer is properly staged, it provides us with a much more accurate understanding of where the cancer exists in your body. This understanding is an important step we will take in determining what colon cancer treatment options are available to you, and which ones will best treat your individual needs.
The ability to properly stage colon cancer requires a team of knowledgeable colon cancer specialists, including a gastroenterologist, surgical oncologist and pathologist. Each of these clinicians brings a unique, important skill set to helping us recommend the best available conventional colon cancer treatment options for you. Gastroenterologists specialize in intestinal diseases. Surgical oncologists specialize in surgery for cancer. Pathologists undergo specialized training to become experts in analyzing human cell structure.
Using a microscope, the pathologist closely examines your tissue samples removed during a biopsy or surgery. He or she documents cell structure, tumor size and evidence of lymph node involvement.
The staging of colon cancer uses the Roman numerals 0 through IV (0–4) to classify the severity of the colon cancer. Typically, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number means a more serious cancer. Different colon cancer stages call for different treatments.
After looking at your test results, the doctor will determine your colon cancer stage and discuss your colon cancer treatment options with you.