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Colon cancer is a disease of the large intestine, or colon, which begins when there are abnormal cells in the lining of the colon. Cancer can either start as polyps within the lining or can be recognized by symptoms that develop. Symptoms include painless bleeding from your rectum, especially if you have already gone through menopause, stomach pain and cramps, constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days and unexplained weight loss.

When Cancer starts within the large intestine it is known as Stage 0 Colon Cancer. Colon Cancer Stages go from stage 1 to stage 4 with stage 0 being non-invasive tumors located only in the inner layer of one section of your bowel wall.

Stage I Colon Cancer is a tumor that affects the inner layer of the colon. Stage I Colon Cancer symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Symptoms also include bloody stool or blood in your stool. If left untreated symptoms will worsen which can cause further problems with liver function and can cause anemia if you start losing too much blood through your bowel movements.

Stage II Colon Cancer starts to affect the outer layer of your colon but has not spread into other organs such as your lymph nodes or other sections of intestine. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, itching, loss of appetite and jaundice. As Colon Cancer progresses it can spread to lymph nodes and other sections of intestine resulting in further Colon Cancer symptoms including nodules under the skin and fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity. Colon Cancer treatment is typically surgery to remove the tumor along with surrounding lymph nodes and sections of intestine. Colon Cancer treatment is shorter if the Cancer has not spread to other areas of your body, however is more intensive if Colon Cancer has already begun to spread.

Stage III Colon Cancer involves a tumor that extends through all layers of your colon wall. Colon cancer symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss and anemia due to internal bleeding from the tumor. In addition it can also cause blood clots within your liver or lungs which will result in pain in those areas as well as coughing up blood due to the formation of a pulmonary embolism from a blood clot dislodging from one's lung and ending up stuck somewhere else such as the heart, liver or brain. Treatment for stage III ranges from surgery to remove a tumor along with lymph nodes and surrounding sections of the colon. Treatment can also include chemotherapy to help treat cancer cells that remain after surgery or radiation therapy if one chooses those forms of treatment following Surgery.

Stage IV involves tumor growth throughout your entire colon and has already begun spreading into other parts of your body especially your lymph nodes and liver. Symptoms include significant weight loss, ongoing fatigue, weakness and difficulty eating due to pain caused by tumors in the stomach area. Symptoms also include bone pain due to bones being affected by tumors within them plus more obvious symptoms of increased heart rate, fevers, night sweats and blood clots in one's legs or lungs. Treatment can include surgery to remove tumors from your colon along with surrounding lymph nodes and sections of intestine. Treatment can also include chemotherapy to help shrink tumors, radiation therapy to kill any Cancer cells remaining after Surgery plus targeted drug therapy containing monoclonal antibodies that bind to the Cancer cells and either kill them directly or mark them for destruction by the body's immune system.

The stages of Colon Cancer are very important in determining a patient's prognosis once they have been diagnosed with Colon Cancer. Colon cancer prognosis is better the earlier stage Colon Cancer is caught due not only to short periods of time between diagnosis and the start of effective treatments, but also due to Colon Cancer being more easily treated in earlier stages. Colon Cancer treatment can be very intensive depending on what stage Colon Cancer has reached which is why it's so important for people to catch it early through Colonoscopy or other testing methods that allow doctors to view the inside of one's bowel canal and obtain tissue samples of any developing Colon Cancers.

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