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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Colorectal Cancer: Diagnosis & Tests
      Category : Health Centers > Cancers and Tumors

Colorectal Cancer

Alternate Names : Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

How is the disease diagnosed?

Colorectal cancer may be diagnosed in several ways, including:

  • colonoscopy, a procedure in which a healthcare professional can look into the entire colon and collect tissue samples through the scope
  • colon surgery
  • endoscopy, a procedure in which a small tube is used to take a sample of tissue
  • Colorectal cancer is divided into stages, and the likelihood of cure and long-term disease-free survival is determined by the stage.

    To determine the stage of the cancer, a surgeon removes the primary tumor and surrounding colon. Local lymph nodes are also removed and the abdomen is explored. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

    The stages of colorectal cancer are:

  • Stage A, which is very limited and highly curable
  • Stages B1 and B2, in which the cancer has invaded the bowel wall but hasn't spread to any of the lymph nodes
  • Stages C1 and C2, in which cancer has invaded the bowel wall and has spread to some of the nearby lymph nodes
  • Stage D, in which the cancer has spread to distant sites such as the lung, liver, and lymph nodes
  • Sometimes, the primary tumor or the sites where the cancer has spread cannot be removed entirely. In these cases, other tests can help in diagnosis, such as:

  • CEA tumor marker, a blood test to determine whether the cancer cells have spread to another site
  • CT scans of the liver and abdomen
  • chest X-ray

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    Colorectal Cancer: Symptoms & Signs


    Colorectal Cancer: Prevention & Expectations

    Author: Thomas Fisher, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/05/01

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