The colon is the part of the digestive tract that connects the stomach and the small intestine to the anus. Colon cancer is the growth that occurs in the gut lining. It is estimated that both environmental factors such as diet and smoking, as well as genetic factors, play an important role in its development. You can get more information about accurate colon cancer tests for colon cancer and rectal cancer via internet sources.
The diagnosis of colon cancer often involves a colonoscopy, an examination of the colon using an instrument called a colonoscopy which allows evaluation of the colon lining as well as to take a biopsy or tissue sampling of cancer. Once a diagnosis of colon cancer is made, the extent of the disease is often determined using a radiologic examination called CT scan.
This allows an initial assessment of the extent of the spread of cancer. Often routine blood tests including complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests, and tumor markers called CEA obtained during the initial evaluation.
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There are 4 stages of colon cancer. It is defined as Phase 1 if the cancer tissue is confined to the lining of the colon or polyps. In Stage 2 colon cancer, cancer has invaded tissues lining the colon wall but has not spread beyond the wall. In stage 3 colon cancer, the cancerous tissue has penetrated the entire thickness of the intestinal wall and spread to nearby lymph nodes.
In Stage 4 of the disease, cancer has spread to other organs such as the liver. Colon cancer staging is important because the prognosis of affected individuals is highly dependent on cancer staging.