What is colorectal cancer (CRC)?
Colorectal cancer, otherwise known as CRC, starts in the colon or rectum. The term colorectal cancer is used to describe colon cancer, rectum cancer or both.
Most colorectal cancers start as a growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. These growths are called polyps, where some types of polyps, but not all, can turn into cancer over time (usually many years). The chance of a polyp developing into cancer depends on its type.
Stage 0: This is the earliest stage possible. Cancer has not spread and is still restricted to the innermost lining of the colon. Stage 0 is also called “Carcinoma in Situ”.
Stage I: Cancer has begun to spread, but is still in the inner lining.
Stage II: Cancer has grown through the wall of the colon and may have spread into nearby tissue. Cancer has not yet spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Stage III: Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but has not spread to distant parts of the body.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to the lymph system and/or to distant parts of the body, most commonly the lungs and liver. This is also called “metastasis”.