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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Staging Colon and Rectal Cancer

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Staging Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer is staged much the same way as colon cancer, but because the tumor is much lower down in the colon, the treatment options may vary.

Stage 0
In stage 0 rectal cancer, the tumor is located only on the inner lining of the rectum. To treat this early stage cancer, surgery can be performed to remove the tumor or a small section of the rectum where the cancer is located can be removed.

Learn more about treatments for stage 0 rectal cancer.

Stage I

This is an early form or limited form of cancer. The tumor has broken through the inner lining of the rectum but has not made it past the muscular wall.

Learn more about treatment for stage I rectal cancer.

Stage II
This cancer is a little more advanced. The tumor has penetrated all the way through the bowel wall and may have invaded other organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or prostate gland.

Learn more about the treatments for stage II rectal cancer.

Stage III
The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes (small structures that are found throughout the body that produce and store cells that fight infection).

Learn more about treatments for stage III rectal cancer.

Stage IV
The tumor has spread to distant parts of the body (metastasized). The tumor can be any size and sometimes is not that large. The liver and lung are two favored places for rectal cancer to spread.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on July 28, 2014
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