Colorectal Cancer Stage 0
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Stage 0 Colorectal Cancer (Carcinoma In Situ)
Stage 0 colorectal cancer, also known as carcinoma in situ or intramucosal carcinoma, is the earliest stage of colorectal cancer that can be diagnosed. In this stage – which is considered “non-invasive” – the cancer has not grown beyond the innermost layer of the colon or rectum wall (mucosa).
Since the cancer has not spread to other areas, stage 0 can be the easiest type of colorectal cancer to treat. The average five-year survival rate for stage 0 colorectal cancer is 96 percent.
The difference between colon cancer and rectal cancer is the location where the tumor originates, be it the colon or rectum. Since the two types of cancer are similar, they can both often be referred to as simply colorectal cancer.
TNM CategoriesA stage 0 colorectal cancer diagnosis occurs in conjunction with the following TNM categories:
- Tis –The cancer has not grown beyond the lining of the colon or rectum.
- N0 – The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- M0 – There has been no spreading to organs or other areas.
What Is Stage 0 Colorectal Cancer?
Many cases of colorectal cancer will have no symptoms appear before the diagnosis. This is especially true of the earlier stages of the disease. However, the following symptoms could be an indication of colon or rectal cancer:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Diarrhea, constipation or a change in bowel habits
- Narrow stools
- Unexplained weight loss
NOTE: These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. It is important to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for people over the age of 50 and for those who have risk factors for developing the disease, such as a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp (a growth of tissue that develops in the lining of the colon or rectum). Screening tests, such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, enable doctors to check for colorectal polyps and abnormalities in the colon and rectum.
With proper screening, colorectal cancer can be detected early, which can lead to more positive treatment results.
Stage 0 Colorectal Cancer Treatment
In stage 0 colorectal cancer, the cancer cells have not broken through the lining of the colon or rectum. Therefore, surgery is often the only type of treatment necessary. There are a few options in terms of treating the cancer:
Excision: When the disease is diagnosed in an early stage, sometimes doctors can remove the cancer without cutting through the patient’s abdomen. Known as excision, this procedure can often be completed during a colonoscopy.
Polypectomy: This is the term used when a doctor removes a polyp (an abnormal growth of tissue), during an excision.
Resection: When the tumor is too large for an excision, resection is another type of surgery that can be used to treat colorectal cancer. During this process, the doctor removes the cancer and limited amounts of surrounding healthy tissue. The healthy parts are then sewn together so that the bowel can still function normally.
Radiation: Sometimes, when it is necessary, radiation is used after, or instead of, surgery in the case of colorectal cancer.