Over 100,000 people are diagnosed with second stage colon cancer every year. Those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a higher risk of developing it. There are currently four different stages of colon cancer, and a fifth stage for recurring cancer. Each stage has it's own symptoms, and five-year survival rates. Even though colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, oftentimes, symptoms and a diagnoses do not occur until the later stage colon cancer. This article will be discussing second stage colon cancer.
In second stage colon cancer, the cancer has spread from the colon tissue, but not yet infected the lymph nodes. The spreading of cancer throughout the body is called metastasis and is common in other forms of cancer as well. If necessary at this stage colon cancer, a resection surgery may be used to treat second stage colon cancer. Five year survival rates for second stage colon cancer are around 60%. Patients with second stage colon cancer may also be candidates for a clinical trial using Adjuvan Immunotherapy, or chemotherapy. To prevent recurrences, chemotherapy may be used as well.
Second stage colon cancer is also divided up into three different subdivisions, which note how far the cancer has progressed.
- Subdivision 2A is when the second stage colon cancer has grown beyond the muscle layer of the colon wall, but not beyond the colon itself.
- Subdivision 2B represents when the second stage colon cancer has grown outside the outermost wall of the colon, but not outside the colon.
- Subdivision 2C occurs when the second stage colon cancer has grown outside the colon, and into the surrounding tissues as well.
Those with second stage colon cancer have a few treatment options available to them. Although with zero stage colon cancer, a colonoscopy can be used to remove cancer cells, a more invasive surgery is needed for second stage colon cancer. Most likely the cancerous portion of the colon will have to be removed. After removal of the cancerous area of the colon, some cases call for chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. There is some debate as to whether this is necessary, so not every case will be the same.
Over the last 15 years, the colon cancer death rate has dropped. A large percentage of this drop is thought to be because of the high rate of awareness, and preventative measures such as regular colonoscopies. Colon cancer can almost always be caught in it's early stages by a colonoscopy. Those at risk should have regular checkups. There is also evidence to suggest that changing your diet can have an effect on the development of colon cancer. A diet low in fat, and high in fiber is ideal. It is also possible that NSAID medicines such as Ibuprofen can help prevent colon cancer. However, these medications can increase the risk for bleeding and heart problems, so most organizations do not recommend taking them for colon cancer prevention.
The most important way to help prevent second stage colon cancer, is to get regular colonoscopies. If caught early, colon cancer can be cured.