The Types and Stages of Colorectal Cancer
Doctors use many specialized terms to talk about cancer. For instance, here at the Phoenix colorectal cancer treatment center, our doctors may refer to the stages of cancer as well as its type. A cancer’s stage refers to how far it has spread. In the case of colorectal cancer, stage is a way to measure how deeply a cancerous growth has spread into the wall of the colon or rectum. The more advanced the stage, the more the cancer has spread into the wall; this puts the tumor in contact with blood vessels or lymph vessels that have the potential to spread cancerous cells to other parts of the body, eve very distant ones.
Types of Colorectal Cancer
Along with a cancer’s stage, doctors also strive to describe its type. Most colorectal cancers begin as polyps, small growths in the tissue lining the rectum and colon. The presence of polyps is not necessarily an indication of cancer; a few polyps may turn into cancer over the course of several years. The chances of a polyp developing into cancer depend in part on what type it is. Polyps are described with four main types:
- Hyperplasic polyps – A common polyp variety that is not generally cancerous.
- Inflammatory polyps – Also a relatively common variety of polyp that are not in general cancerous.
- Adenomatous polyps – Also called adenomas, these polyps sometimes develop into cancer. For this reason adenomas may be called a precancerous condition.
- Dysplasia – Another precancerous condition, this is an area in the lining of the colorectal wall or in a polyp where cells look abnormal but not exactly like true cancer cells; dysplasia may need to be investigated further by a patient’s care team
Contact Us Today
A few of the detected polyps may eventually develop cancer inside them, so doctors may recommend a certain course of treatment or a “wait and see” approach. Polyp removal is a relatively simple procedure that we conduct here at our Phoenix cancer center. Contact us today to learn more.