Colon cancer is among the most common and serious forms of cancer in the world. Its high rate of incidence and the fact that people remain unaware of the precautionary measures needed makes it a very dangerous ailment. Its rate of incidence starts by the age of 40 and increases multifold after 65. Although predominantly associated with men, Colon cancer affects both men and women. Colon Cancer has 4 distinct stages with a fifth stage referred to as the “recurring stage”. Treatment for each of these is specific to the degree of ailment with a five-year rate of survival.
- Stage 1: In stage 1, the Colon cancer has made the polyp, or the outgrowth, develop into a tumor and grow into the wall of the Colon or rectum. Treatment requires the removal of the tumor and thus the most common form is surgery, called a resection, in which the tumor and a section of the colon is removed. The five-year survival rate in this stage is 95 %.
- Stage 2: In Stage 2 of Colon Cancer, the disease has spread from the Colon to tissue surrounding the Colon. This spreading is referred to as ‘Metastasis’ and can be treated by surgery. However, the survival rate drops significantly to 60 %.
- Stage 3: When Colon cancer enters stage 3, it spreads from the surrounding tissues of the Colon to the Lymph nodes. Treatment includes surgical resection, Chemotherapy and other medical therapies. The survival rate in this stage drops to 35-60 %.
- Stage 4: Colon Cancer in stage 4 enters other organs of the body such as the lungs and the liver. The treatment in this stage includes a number of forms, surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It might also become necessary to remover other parts of the body. In this stage, there is only a 3 % chance of survival.
- Recurrent stage: In the recurrent stage, Colon cancer returns after being treated successfully. It may not be necessary that it returns to the Colon however, it could occur in any other part of the body as well. It is therefore advised to maintain regular checkups even after treatment.
If found early, Colon Cancer is readily curable and patients do not necessarily, have to go through risky medical procedures. However, in later stages, Colon Cancer is the second most lethal form of Cancer after lung Cancer.
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