What Age Do You Usually Get Colon Cancer – Your colon, also known as the large intestine, is about six feet long, starting at the cecum and ending at the anus. The anus is also known as the rectum and cancer located in that area is called rectal cancer. Cancer located in the rest of the colon is called colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the term that describes both cancers collectively.
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Men and women are diagnosed with these cancers equally. Although colon cancer can occur at most any age, it occurs most often in people 50 and older. African Americans have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, as do those with a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer. Certain genetic diseases and inflammatory bowel disease can also increase a person’s risk.
What Age Do You Usually Get Colon Cancer
Most cases of colon cancer start as small, non-cancerous growths called polyps. Over time, some of these polyps become cancerous. Colorectal cancers may not produce symptoms at first, but as the tumors grow, they can disrupt the body’s ability to digest food and eliminate waste, leading to serious abdominal and intestinal problems. Symptoms may include:
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Colorectal cancer screening often catches colon cancer early, when it is most likely to be treatable. A screening colonoscopy can also prevent colon cancer altogether. Since colon cancer often arises from precancerous growths or polyps, removing them early eliminates the chance of colon cancer developing from those polyps.
We want you to live a long and healthy life, especially without a preventable disease like colon cancer. If you are age 50 or older or have a family history of colon cancer, you should urgently discuss colon cancer screening with your primary care physician or call our office at (706) 868-0104 for more information.
The content of our website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have about your health.
ATTENTION: In the midst of the coronavirus, we are committed to protecting our patients, staff and the surrounding community. If you have traveled abroad in the past 30 days, have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, or think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call our office to reschedule your appointment. Colorectal cancer staging describes the extent of the disease: whether it is present only in the inner lining of the colon or rectum, whether it has spread deep into those tissues or spread to other parts of the body.
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Staging cancers helps doctors understand how advanced a cancer is, make treatment decisions, and predict the course of the disease, including the chance of recovery.
A diagnosis of colon cancer or a diagnosis of rectal cancer usually involves a biopsy – studying suspicious tissue from the colon or rectum under a microscope. If doctors find cancer, they will perform imaging tests to see how advanced the disease is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Each cancer has its own staging criteria. In the case of colon and rectal cancer, the system used is called TNM, which stands for tumor, node and metastasis.
There are five stages of colorectal cancer, ranging from 0 to 4. Doctors may also follow the stage number with a letter that provides more information.
Colon Cancer Diagnosis
Stage 0 The cancer is in its earliest stage, called carcinoma in situ or intramucosal carcinoma. It has not grown beyond the inner layer (mucosa) of the colon or rectum (Tis, N0, M0).
Stage 1 Cancer has grown into the submucosa and possibly the thick muscle layer beneath it (muscularis propria). It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites (T1 or T2, N0, M0).
Stage 2A Cancer has grown into the wall of the colon or rectum but not through it. It has not reached nearby organs or lymph nodes or spread to distant sites (T3, N0, M0).
Stage 2B Cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum but not into nearby tissues or organs. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites (T4a, N0, M0).
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Stage 2C The cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum and is attached to or has grown into other nearby tissues or organs. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites (T4b, N0, M0).
Stage 3A Cancer has grown into the submucosa and possibly into the muscularis propria; has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes or areas of fat near lymph nodes, but not to distant sites (T1 or T2, N1/N1c, M0).
The cancer has grown into the submucosa and spread to 4 or 6 nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T1, N2a, M0).
Stage 3B Cancer has grown into the wall of the colon or rectum or through the visceral peritoneum (the inner lining of the abdominal cavity), but has not spread to nearby organs. It has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes or to areas of fat near lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T3 or T4a, N1/N1c, M0).
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The cancer has grown into the muscularis propria or wall of the colon or rectum and has spread to 4 or 6 nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T2 or T3, N2a, M0).
The cancer has grown into the submucosa and possibly the muscularis propria. It has spread to 7 or more nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T1 or T2, N2b, M0).
Stage 3C Cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum, including the tissues that line it (the visceral peritoneum), but has not spread to nearby organs. It has spread to 4 or 6 nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T4a, N2a, M0).
The cancer has grown into the wall of the colon or rectum, including the visceral peritoneum, but has not spread to nearby organs. It has spread to 7 or more nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites (T3 or T4a, N2b, M0).
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Cancer has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum and is attached to or has grown into nearby tissues or organs. It has spread to at least one nearby lymph node or areas of fat near it, but not to distant sites (T4b, N1 or N2, M0).
Stage 4A The cancer has spread to a distant organ, such as the liver or lungs, or to a distant set of lymph nodes, but not to distant parts of the lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum (any T, any N, M1a).
Stage 4B Cancer has spread to more than one organ or distant set of lymph nodes, but not to distant parts of the peritoneum (any T, any N, M1b).
The National Cancer Institute compiled data (most recently for the years 2004 to 2010) to create relative five-year survival rates for different types of cancer: the estimated percentage of people at each stage who are expected to be alive five years later of the diagnosis.
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For colorectal cancers, available statistics are based on an earlier version of the TNM staging system that differs from what is used today; it doesn’t have a 2C stage, for example.
In general, the larger the stage, the worse the prognosis. The fact that stage 3A colon cancer has a higher survival rate than stage 2A and 2B cancers seems strange, but it may reflect more aggressive treatment, among other factors, because patients with stage 2 colon cancer 3 always receive chemotherapy, while the ability of chemotherapy to improve survival in stage 2 disease is controversial and is related to the microscopic examination of the tumor.
Keep in mind that each case of cancer is unique, and many factors besides stage affect the outcome, such as a person’s age, overall health, and responsiveness to treatment.
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