Cancer can affect any part of the body, but it's especially common in the colon or large intestine. Colon cancer is caused by abnormal cells called polyps developing in the lining of the colon. If caught early enough, these polyps are usually benign and don't lead to cancer. If cancer has developed in your colon, tests are ordered to determine the stage of colon cancer.
Stage 0 is the earliest stage of colon cancer and means that the cancer hasn't spread past the inner layer of the colon. Colon cancers diagnosed at this stage have high survival rates.
Stage 1 colon cancer means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the colon but hasn't advanced past the wall of the colon and entered other parts of the body.
At stage 2, the cancer has spread through the colon wall but hasn't reached the lymph nodes. Stage 2 is sometimes divided into a 2A and a 2B stage.
In stage 3 colon cancer, the cancer has now moved into the lymph nodes of the body. Stage 3 is sometimes divided into a 3A, 3B and 3C stage.
Stage 4 is obviously the most serious and indicates the cancer is now in other organs of the body. Survival rates of individuals with colon cancer at this stage are very low.
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