It means, Stage-IV metastasized and tertiary stage.
Colon cancer, like the vast majority of cancers, is staged under a standard system called the AJCC Staging Sytem or the TNM staging system. The AJCC system was created by the American Joint Committee on Cancer and is called the TNM system because the T, N and M factors are the three factors used in staging the cancer.
The T number is determined by a doctor who evaluates both the size and growth of the primary cancer. In liver cancer, the T number is diagnosed based on how many layers of the colon the tumor has penetrated. The layers include the innermost lining, (the mucosa) the thin muscle layer next to the mucosa (the muscularis mucosa), the fibers and tissue above the mucosa (the muscularis mucosa), the contracting muscle layer that helps move the contents through the intestine (the muscularis propi) and finally the outermost layers (the subserosa and serosa).
The N number refers to lymph node involvement (whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes). The M number refers to whether the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body distinct from the colon/rectum and general digestive system.
Stage IV Cancer
Stage IV colorectal cancer refers to a cancer with any T number, any N number, and an M number of M1. This means that the level of layers of the colon and the lymph node involvement is not important in diagnosing Stage IV Cancer. A diagnosis of Stage IV cancer is always given when the cancer spreads from the primary site (the colon) to other sites on the body.
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