Stages of Colon Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the earliest stage is Stage 0 (a very early cancer), followed by stages 1-4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. In stage 3 colorectal cancer, the malignant cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes but have not yet spread to other areas. A person is at stage 4 if their colorectal cancer has metastasized beyond the lymph nodes.
It can also spread to the lungs, brain, lining of the abdominal cavity, distant lymph nodes, and liver. Metastatic colorectal cancer frequently spreads to the liver, which may be because the liver receives the majority of its blood supply from the portal vein, a large blood vessel that carries blood from the intestines and spleen.
Many colon cancer patients don’t exhibit any symptoms, making frequent screening tests so crucial. Symptoms of the condition, at any stage, may include any or all of the following:
- Blood in the stool, generally in a dark red or black color
- Both diarrhea and constipation. These could also be signs of less severe disorders. However, if they continue, visit a doctor.
- Pencil-like, long, thin stools. These indicate that your colon is being obstructed by something. A tumor or another object might be the obstruction.
- Weakness and exhaustion. A tumor that is bleeding and iron loss might both make you feel considerably more exhausted or weak than normal.
- Bloating or soreness in the abdomen. Blockages brought on by colon tumors might make it challenging to completely empty your bowels. As a result, you can feel bloated and full.
- Unaccounted-for weight loss If you lose 10 pounds or more without changing your diet or exercise routine, it may be cancer, especially if you also exhibit other signs of colon cancer.
- Nausea and vomiting, which could occur if the tumor blocks the airflow.