Course Content
Introduction to Colorectal Cancer
Learn about the causes, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, treatment, and management of colorectal cancer. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of colorectal cancer and how to prevent, detect, and manage it.
Not Just A Gut Feeling: Understanding Colorectal Cancer
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What is the TNM staging system?

The TNM staging system for colorectal cancer is a standardized method used to determine the extent and spread of the cancer. It helps healthcare professionals assess the stage of the disease and guide treatment decisions. The TNM staging system consists of three key components:

Tumor (T) stage. Tumor stage refers to the size and extent of the primary tumor. It assesses how deeply the tumor has invaded the layers of the colon or rectum and whether it has spread to nearby tissues or organs. The T stages range from T0 (no evidence of a tumor) to T4 (tumor has invaded nearby structures or organs).

Lymph Node (N) stage. Lymph node stage describes whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that play a role in filtering and fighting infections. The N stages range from N0 (no spread to lymph nodes) to N2 (cancer has spread to multiple lymph nodes).

Metastasis (M) stage. Metastasis stage indicates whether the cancer has spread to distant organs or tissues. This includes the liver, lungs, bones, or other parts of the body. The M stages range from M0 (no distant spread) to M1 (distant metastasis present).

Combining the T, N, and M stages gives an overall stage of the colorectal cancer. The stages are usually designated numerically from stage 0 to stage IV.

What are the stages of Colorectal Cancer?

Stage 0. The cancer is in its earliest stage and is limited to the innermost layers of the colon or rectum.

Stage I. The cancer has grown through the inner layers but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs.

Stage II. The cancer has grown into or through the outer layers of the colon or rectum but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites.

Stage III. The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites.

Stage IV. The cancer has spread to distant organs or tissues.

The TNM staging system helps healthcare professionals determine the appropriate treatment options and predict the prognosis of colorectal cancer patients. It provides a standardized way to communicate the extent of the disease and allows for consistent comparison of treatment outcomes across different patients.