Diagnosis of Colon Cancer

Better Colon Cancer Care, Closer to Home

Being told that you or a loved one has colorectal cancer can feel overwhelming, but our team is here to help. We hope that sharing information and resources can empower you in the battle against colon cancer.

Learning about colon cancer and its many treatment options can make patients feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your health care team—that can include surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and other specialists—to make the best choices for your treatment. Because we concentrate on colon cancer treatment, our teams ensure a multifaceted approach so you can cope with every aspect of dealing with—and recovering from—cancer.

Stages of Colorectal Cancer

Upon diagnosis, you will receive information about the stage of the cancer and whether or not it has spread to other regions of your body. Knowing the stage of a cancer is one of the most important things to know when deciding how to treat the cancer.

Classifying Colorectal Cancer with the TNM System

The most commonly used system to stage colorectal cancer is the TNM system from the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The first step in staging your cancer is to decide the value for each part of the TNM system.

Here's what the letters stand for in the TNM system:

  • T tells how far the main tumor has spread into the lining of your colon or rectum and nearby tissue.
  • N tells whether or not the lymph nodes in the area of the original tumor have become cancer.
  • M tells whether or not the cancer has spread to other distant organs in the body, such as the liver, lung, or lining of your belly or abdomen.

Number values are assigned to the T, N and M categories. There are also two other values that can be assigned:

  • X means the provider does not have enough information to assess the tumor size, lymph node involvement, or spread of the cancer. This value is often assigned before surgery.
  • In situ means the cancer is in its earliest stages and has not spread beyond the first layer of the colon or rectum wall.

Stage groupings are determined by combining the T, N and M values from the TNM system. These groupings give an overall description of how advanced your cancer is. A stage grouping can have a value of 0 or of Roman numerals I through IV. The higher the number, the more advanced your cancer is.

Once your cancer is assigned a staging designation, you are armed with even more information for treatment. To decide the best course of treatment, your health care team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one health care provider. You may also choose to get a second opinion.

Comprehensive Support for Colon Cancer Care

Coping with cancer can be very stressful on patients and their families. Talk with your health care team about seeing a counselor in addition to your doctors. We also offers various support services to assist families so they do not feel alone in their cancer journey.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best colon cancer specialists call
(844) CANCERNJ or (844) 226-2376.