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Stages, types and grades

The stage of a bowel cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. There are different ways of staging bowel cancer. There is a number staging system, the TNM system and the Dukes' staging system.

The type tells you which type of cell the cancer started in and where it began. Bowel cancer can start in the large bowel (colon cancer) or the back passage (rectal cancer). It is also called colorectal cancer. 

The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

About staging and grading bowel cancer

The stage of a cancer means how big it is and whether it has spread. The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

Types of bowel cancer

Bowel (colorectal) cancer can start in the large bowel (colon) or the back passage (rectum). It's also divided into different types depending on the type of cell that your cancer started in.

TNM Staging

Tumour, node and metastasis (TNM) staging is one of the systems used to stage bowel (colon and rectal) cancer.

Number stages

There are 5 main stages in the number stage system for bowel cancer. 

Dukes' staging system

The most common system to stage bowel cancer is TNM staging. But you might hear your doctor talking about your bowel caner as Dukes’ A,B,C or D.

Last reviewed: 
28 Mar 2019

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