Staging is done in any type of cancer to determine what type of treatment is appropriate for the disease. Stages of cancer vary with respect to spreading of cancer causing cells. The mode of treatment may not be suitable if the exact stage of the colon cancer is not known.
Stage 1 :
At this stage, cancer causing cells is found in the innermost layer of the colon. Usually it is not detected since it will not produce any symptoms.
Stage 2 :
Now the cancerous cells have spread to the second and subsequent layers of the colon and in some cases it would enter into the walls of the colon. It is time for you to get it tested and begin the treatment. If left untreated, then cancer would spread even beyond the outer wall of your colon.
Stage 3 :
At this stage, the cancerous cells would spread outside the colon penetrating through the muscular wall. But still now it has not entered the lymph nodes and there is time for survival.
Stage 4 :
Now the cancer cells have entered one or more lymph nodes (organs that are distributed throughout the body which helps in fighting infection). Visible symptoms like rectal bleeding, extreme fatigue and weight loss are observed.
Stage 5 :
This is the final stage of colon cancer which has spread fat outside the colon. Now the doctors can see cancerous cells in various body parts like liver and lungs. It is very difficult to get it treated at this stage since the tumor has metastasized. The rate of survival is very low if colon cancer is detected at this stage.
Colon and colorectal cancer will not produce any symptoms in the initial stages. Some of the common symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Cramps in rectum and bloody discharge via rectum
- Changes in normal bowel movements
- Constipation or diarrhea frequently
- You may feel that you are not able to empty the bowel fully
- Stool would become different and you may get pencil like long thin stools
- Bloated sensation even when you ate little
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Loss of weight (unexplained)
- Extreme fatigue and weakness
- Pain in the pelvic region
The signs are not the same for all people having colon cancer, since it varies with the intensity of cancer, staging and other health condition. It is time to call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms like rectal bleeding or bloody stool. Some of the symptoms like abdominal cramps and bloating can be due to other health issues but a healthy person will not get bloody discharge in his stool or from rectum.