Stages of Colon Cancer: Symptoms and Progression

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Stages of Colon Cancer: Symptoms and Progression



Colon cancer is a significant medical condition that demands attention due to its high prevalence and significant impact on public health. Symptoms of colon cancer play a crucial role in understanding its stages and progression.

This article aims to comprehensively understand colon cancer, including its development, stages, symptoms of colon cancer, diagnostic procedures, treatment options, and prevention strategies.

By discovering the complexities of this disease, individuals can gain valuable insights into its characteristics, enabling them to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is a form of cancer that emerges in the rectum or colon. Colon cancer often starts as tiny growths called polyps.

Symptoms of colon cancer may include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, and abdominal discomfort. While polyps generally aren’t cancerous, some can turn into colon cancers over time.

The development of colorectal cancer is primarily associated with adenocarcinomas, which start in cells that make mucus to lubricate the inside of the colon and rectum.

However, other less common types of tumours can also start in the colon or rectum, such as carcinoid tumours and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

How does colon cancer develop in different areas?

Most colorectal cancers materialise as adenocarcinomas, originating in cells that produce mucous for colon lubrication. However, outliers like carcinoid tumours and gastrointestinal stromal tumours can also initiate in the colon or rectum, though rarely.

Types of Colon Cancer

The predominant type, adenocarcinoma, lines the colon’s interior surface. Yet, lesser-known entities like carcinoid tumours and gastrointestinal stromal tumours inject a burst of diversity into the cancer spectrum.

Stages of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer stages, ranging from 0 to IV, signify the extent of cancer within the body. From localised beginnings in the innermost lining (Stage 0) to ominous metastasis to distant organs (Stage IV), each stage guides treatment decisions and prognostic outlooks.

The stage of colon cancer helps determine the typical treatment and outlook for people with cancer at that stage. However, each person’s cancer experience is unique. Diagnostic tests such as imaging scans, colonoscopy, and biopsy are used to determine the stage of colon cancer.

Stage 0: In situ or localised within the innermost layer

Stage 0 colon cancer is confined to the innermost lining of the colon, known as the mucosa. This stage is also referred to as carcinoma in situ. It means that the cancer cells are present only in the innermost layer of the colon and have not spread to other tissues or organs.

Treatment for stage 0 colon cancer usually involves surgery to remove the polyps or the affected part of the colon.

Stages I and II: Localised growth and potential lymph node involvement

In stages I and II, the cancer has progressed through the mucosa and may have infiltrated the muscular layer of the colon or rectum.

It may also have extended to nearby lymph nodes. Treatment for these stages usually involves surgery to remove the affected part of the colon, followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Stage III: Spread to nearby lymph nodes

Stage III colon cancer has extended beyond the colon to one or more lymph nodes. Treatment for this stage usually involves surgery to remove the affected part of the colon.

It will be followed by chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy may also be used in some cases.

Stage IV: Metastasis to distant organs

Colon cancer at stage IV has metastasised to distant organs like the liver or lungs. Treatment for this stage usually involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy to kill cancer cells and prevent further spread.

Risk Factors for Colon Cancer

Various risk factors can elevate the likelihood of developing colon cancer, including being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, specific dietary patterns, smoking, and a personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

When symptoms of colon cancer manifest, they often depend on the cancer’s size and location in the large intestine. Symptoms of colon cancer can encompass:

  • Altered bowel habits, including frequent constipation or diarrhoea.
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool.
  • Persistent discomfort in the belly area, such as cramps, gas, or pain.
  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Unintended weight loss.

Diagnostic Procedures

Doctors use a combination of tests to diagnose colorectal cancer. This might start with a physical exam to feel for abnormalities. They can also use imaging techniques like ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs to see inside your body.

Another way to directly examine the colon is through a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, which involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera. A small tissue sample (biopsy) can be taken for further examination under a microscope if something suspicious is found. Additionally, advanced testing may look for specific genetic changes in the cancer cells to help determine the best course of treatment.

Treatment Options for Colon Cancer

The approach to treating colon cancer is contingent upon its stage and may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Prevention and Early Detection Strategies

Multiple strategies aid in preventing colon cancer or detecting it early, including maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, adhering to a nutritious diet, and undergoing regular screening tests—particularly for those with an elevated risk.

Treatment of Colon Cancer at Punarjan Ayurveda

Punarjan Ayurveda adopts a unique and comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges posed by colon cancer, combining ancient wisdom with modern advancements.

Our mission is to empower individuals with compassionate care and practical solutions rooted in time-tested methods. Recognising the physical and psychological toll experienced by colon cancer patients, our dedicated team at Punarjan focuses on crafting personalised treatment programs tailored to meet the diverse needs of each patient.

We strive to rebalance the body’s doshas and stimulate natural healing by integrating Ayurvedic medications, cleansing therapies, immune-boosting practices, and dietary modifications. Our therapies not only target the cancerous cells but also aim to strengthen the body’s overall resistance to disease.

Treatment is just one aspect of our comprehensive approach. We offer unwavering support, information, and guidance through our counsellors, with therapists accompanying clients every step of their journey towards recovery.

At Punarjan Ayurveda, we hold your health in the highest regard and honour the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Our specialised care is designed to provide holistic support and effective treatment for colon cancer. Together, let’s combat colon cancer with determination, optimism, and the healing power of Ayurvedic medicine.


Colon cancer stands as a severe condition that can be effectively addressed when detected early. Grasping the symptoms of colon cancer, understanding risk factors, and recognising the importance of screening and early detection are pivotal in mitigating the impact of this disease.


How quickly does colon cancer progress?

The pace at which colon cancer progresses can vary. Originating as a polyp, it may take years to evolve into cancer. The progression from stage 0 to stage IV is also variable, influenced by factors like the individual’s health, cancer characteristics, and treatment effectiveness.

How long do Stage 4 colon cancer patients live?

Life expectancy for stage 4 colon cancer patients varies, hinging on factors such as overall health, cancer specifics, and treatment response. While prognosis is generally poorer, advancements in treatment have improved outcomes for some patients.

Is colon cancer curable at stage 3?

Stage 3 colon cancer is considered curable in some cases, particularly with appropriate treatment. Standard treatment involves surgery followed by chemotherapy. The prognosis depends on cancer specifics and treatment response.

Can colon cancer develop in 2 years?

Colon cancer development from polyp to cancerous stage typically spans many years. While less common, rapid development within two years underscores the importance of regular screening and prompt medical attention for concerning symptoms.

How do you know if colon cancer is getting worse?

Monitoring colon cancer progression involves imaging tests, blood tests, and physical examinations. Worsening symptoms, like increased pain or unexplained weight loss, may indicate advancement, necessitating consultation with a healthcare provider.

Is colon cancer fully curable?

Full cure potential in colon cancer hinges on factors such as diagnosis stage, cancer specifics, and treatment response. Early-stage diagnosis with appropriate treatment can lead to a complete cure, though individual prognosis varies.

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