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What Stage is My Colon Cancer and How Do I Find Out About My Prognosis?

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WHAT STAGE IS MY COLON CANCER AND HOW DO I FIND ABOUT MY PROGNOSIS?

Most important factor in outcome of patients with cancer is the Stage of Colon Cancer at the time of diagnosis. That is why after colon cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the colon or to other parts of the body.

The following stages are used for colon cancer:

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

Stage I

Stage II

Stage III

Stage IV

After colon cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the colon or to other parts of the body. The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the colon or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the abdomen, pelvis, or chest, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the colon. A substance called gadolinium is injected into the patient through a vein. The gadolinium collects around the cancer cells so they show up brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).

PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.

Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.

Surgery: A procedure to remove the tumor and see how far it has spread through the colon.

Lymph node biopsy: The removal of all or part of a lymph node. A pathologist views the lymph node tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells. This may be done during surgery or by endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy.

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) assay: A test that measures the level of CEA in the blood. CEA is released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. When found in higher than normal amounts, it can be a sign of colon cancer or other conditions.

Khawaja Azimuddin M.D. & Tal Raphaeli M.D. & Jean Knapps M.D.

1125 Cypress Station Dr, Suite G, Houston TX 77090

Tel: 281-583 1300 Fax: 281-583 1303

Houston Colon & Rectal surgery PA

The Hemorrhoid Center

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.