There are five stages of colon cancer (0-4). This staging system reflects where the cancer went when no one was looking. In general, the earlier the stage, the easier the cancer is to treat. (Learn more about colon cancer staging.)
Stage 2 colon cancer used to be called Duke's B colon cancer. Stage 2 tumors are divided into two groups: one that's less advanced and one that's more advanced. The less advanced one is called stage 2A (formerly Duke's B1) and the more advanced is stage 2B (formerly Duke's B2).
Think Like a Tumor
To understand your tumor, it helps to think like one.
You open your eyes and find yourself in a fleshy tunnel (a colon) and the only thing you know is this: You must dig out of that tunnel. Escape. Spread.
The ground you're standing on is the first layer of the colon, the mucosa. If you dig a little, you'll pass through a thin muscle layer and run into the submucosa. Dig a little more and you'll hit a thick muscle layer, then another major muscle layer. Keep digging and you'll reach the outermost layer of the colon, the serosa. Along the way, you'll be hoping to hit a blood vessel or lymph node, since infiltrating either will help you spread faster.
That's what you were born to do, and that's what you'll try to do until someone stops you.
Treatment for Stage 2 Colon Cancer
When discovered at stage 2A, colon cancer has either made it through the muscle layers or managed to spread to nearby tissues around the colon or rectum. In stage 2B, the cancer has extended through the colon wall into nearby organs (such as the bladder or ovaries). In stage 2B, the cancer may also have stretched into the peritoneum - tissue that covers most of the organs in your abdomen.
Treatment for stage 2 colon cancer generally consists of a surgical resection and, if the doctor thinks the cancer may recur, chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy. In a surgical resection, a surgeon removes the section of the colon affected by the tumor and joins the remaining healthy sections together to form one long, healthy piece. To learn more about each type of treatment, please read Colon Cancer Treatment Options.
Survival Rate for Stage 2 Colon Cancer
A lot of things can influence colon cancer survival rates. Stage is a major factor, but tumor location and country of residence have also been shown to impact survival. For example, tumors in the right colon are often caught later because symptoms take longer to emerge, and in countries where early screening is relatively uncommon, tumors are caught later. Studies have also found that exercise may increase colon cancer survival rates.
In general, about 90 percent of people with stage 2 colon cancer are still alive five years after their diagnosis. (Learn more about colon cancer survival rates.)
Want to Talk about It?
If you'd like to talk to other people about stage 2 colon cancer, please visit the Colon Cancer Forum. There's a Stage 2 Colon Cancer thread where you can post questions, concerns, or comments.Sources:
- Cancer Facts and Figures 2005. American Cancer Society. 15 Jan. 2007 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/STT/content/STT_1x_Cancer_Facts__Figures_2005.asp].
- Colon Cancer PDQ: Treatment: Stages of Colon Cancer. National Cancer Institute. 15 Jan. 2007 [http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/colon/Patient/page2].
- Colon Cancer PDQ: Treatment: Treatment Options for Colon Cancer. National Cancer Institute. 15 Jan. 2007 [http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/colon/Patient/page5].
- McLeish, J. and Thursfield, V. "Survival from Colorectal Cancer in Victoria: 10-Year Follow Up of the 1987 Management Survey." ANZ Journal of Surgery 72.5 (2002): 352. Blackwell Synergy. 15 Jan. 2007.