Bowel cancer staging

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If you are diagnosed with bowel cancer, you will firstly need to have tests to determine the size of the tumour, its position and to what extent it has spread. This process of assessment is called staging. It is an essential part of cancer treatment as it gives the specialists detailed  information needed to asses the patient's situation and outlook. The treatment for colorectal cancer depends to a large extent on its stage. For early cancer, surgery may be all that is needed. For more advanced cancer, other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, may be required. Ask your doctor to explain the stage of your cancer so that you can understand your options and make the best decision about your treatment.

The Dukes staging system:

The experts commonly use more than one system of staging. The Dukes system is commonly used to asses the colorectal cancer spread. The classification according to the Dukes system is as follows:

Another staging system which is commonly used is called the TNM System. It gives a detailed information about how far the tumour (T) has spread through the bowel wall, if lymph nodes (N) are affected by the cancer and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (M, for metastases).

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

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