Understanding Colon Cancer

By A. Richard Adrouny | Go to book overview

6

. Stages and Prognosis
of Colon Cancer

Staging of cancer is the essential step in the process of determining both treatment and prognosis. It is a fundamental part of any cancer treatment plan, for without an accurate determination of the stage of a person's cancer, it is not possible to make a sensible conclusion about which treatment should be employed.

The same type of cancer may have quite contrasting treatment plans and prognoses if the stages are different. The use of certain approaches for individuals whose colon cancer is confined to the mucosa and of others for people whose cancer has already spread to the liver is probably easily understood even by those who have no medical knowledge or training. In one situation, aggressive therapy, primarily consisting of surgery, is readily applied, with the expectation that the individual should be cured of the disease. In the other, surgery would likely not be a consideration. “The tumor was inoperable”—an assertion loaded with dramatic innuendo of prognostic significance—is perhaps the most concise yet easily appreciated statement of cancer staging.

Current staging systems of colorectal cancer stem from earlier versions initially used for rectal cancer. Even the early systems recognized the fundamental importance of the following features in determining less favorable prognostic aspects: (1) depth of penetration beyond the mucosa, especially the importance of penetration of the muscularis propria or extension to fatty tissue outside of the colon, (2) involvement of lymph nodes, and (3) overall size of the tumor.

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Understanding Colon Cancer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Understanding Colon Cancer *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • 1 - Who Gets Colon Cancer and Why *
  • 2 - The Colon *
  • 3 - How Colon Cancer Develops *
  • 4 - The [look] of Colon Cancer *
  • 5 - The [feel] of Colon Cancer *
  • 6 - Stages and Prognosis of Colon Cancer *
  • 7 - Surgical Treatment of Colon Cancer *
  • 8 - Treatment of Later Stages of Colon Cancer *
  • 9 - Prevention *
  • 10 - The Future *
  • Appendix *
  • Glossary *
  • Index *
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