The Stages and Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a condition that begins as a polyp in the lining of either the colon or rectum. Once a polyp becomes cancerous, this disease can spread through the walls of the colon and rectum to other parts of the body. This advancement is categorized in stages. In this article, we will be discussing the stages of colorectal cancer and the various treatment options for this disease. 

As with all forms of cancer, the earlier cancer is detected the better. While the prospect of having colorectal cancer is anxiety-inducing, early detection affords patients comparatively more effective treatment options and improved outcomes than those who became aware of their condition in its later stages. If you have yet to be screened for colorectal cancer, consult with a colorectal surgeon in Tampa

The Stages of Colorectal Cancer 

What follows are the stages of colorectal cancer. As you will see, the chances of recovery and survival for a patient dwindle the longer this disease is allowed to develop. 

Stage 0

This is the earliest stage of colorectal cancer. In this stage, a cancerous polyp has formed in the innermost layer of the colon or rectum, but no cancer has spread to the inner layer. Treatment involves removing the polyp through surgery. Unless the polyp can’t be completely removed or cancer is found in other areas of the colon or rectum, no further surgery is needed. 

Stage I

Cancer has now begun to spread but is still localized to the lining of the colon or rectum. Nearby and distant lymph nodes remain unaffected. Again, surgery can be employed to remove the cancerous polyp. 

Stage II

By stage II, cancer has spread through the outermost layer of the colon or rectum and may have spread to adjacent tissue or organs. Nearby lymph nodes, distant lymph nodes, and distant parts of the body remain unaffected. While surgery is the primary choice for removing tumors and cancerous tissue, chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgical options. 

Stage III 

Cancer has now spread to multiple lymph nodes. Depending on the severity of the disease, it may have also spread to nearby tissues or organs. Distant lymph node sites and other parts of the body remain unaffected, but these sites are at risk of forming new tumors if cancer cells reach them in a process known as metastasis. A combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can be employed to treat stage III colorectal cancer. 

Stage IV

In the final stage of colorectal cancer, the disease has spread to nearby lymph nodes and one or more distant organs, such as the lungs and liver. Cancer can also spread to the lining of the abdomen, further putting nearby organs at risk. Due to this advanced stage of cancer, aggressive treatment options involving a combination of surgery, radiation, therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy must be employed. 

Early Detection and Surgical Treatment Are Your Best Chance for Survival 

Colorectal cancer is highly treatable with surgery if found early. However, those suffering from colorectal cancer may experience few, if any, symptoms, making regular screening crucial for preventing and treating colorectal cancer. If you have colorectal cancer or are interested in a screening, schedule an appointment with Whalen Clark, M.D, the premier colorectal surgeon in Tampa.  

Dr. Clark specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery to treat conditions of the colon and rectum. He has performed numerous tumor resections and colectomies with marked success. If you are considering colorectal surgery in Tampa, Dr. Clark can explore all available treatment options and develop a plan that’s right for you. 

To schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., regarding colorectal surgery in Tampa, please contact us today.

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