When a bowel cancer has been diagnosed, doctors will usually arrange tests to see how far the bowel cancer has spread in order to give an idea of the chance of cure and to plan suitable treatment. The commonly used test are:
CT scan - done in all patients
MRI scan - used in rectal cancer to determine the size and stage of the tumour
PET scan - used if a liver or lung surgery is considered
The exact stage of bowel cancer is determined after an operation to remove the cancer.
Dukes’ stage for Bowel cancer
The Dukes’ staging system divides bowel cancers into 4 groups.
Dukes’ A - a small cancer which hasn’t grown through the bowel wall or spread to lymph glands
Dukes’ B - a cancer which has grown through the bowel wall but hasn’t spread to lymph glands
Dukes’ C - a cancer which has spread into the lymph glands
Dukes’s D - a cancer which has spread to other organs often the liver or the lungs