Colon and Rectal Cancer
Diagnosis and Cancer Staging
When you're diagnosed with colorectal cancer, your doctor needs to find how advanced the disease is, or how far it has spread. This is known as staging.
Cancer staging is important because it tells how much cancer there is in your body and where it may be located. Knowing the extent of the disease helps your doctor develop the right treatment plan. It gives your healthcare team a common language to talk about your treatment.
Here are some of the tests used to determine the stage of your colorectal cancer:
Endorectal Ultrasound (EUS): An ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum. The probe sends out sound waves (out of range of human hearing) that bounce off the rectum and nearby tissues. A computer-generated picture, created from the echoes, shows how deep a rectal tumor has grown or if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other nearby tissues.
Chest X-ray: X-rays of the chest can show whether cancer has spread to the lungs.
CT Scan: An X-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The patient may receive an injection of dye. Tumors in the liver, lungs, or other places in the body show up on the CT scan.
Final staging may depend on microscopic examination ot the surgically removed tumor and lymph nodes.