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My husband has recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. The cancer perforated his colon. He had surgery to remove part of his colon (approx 1.5ft). It has been 5 days since the surgery. The doctors do not seem to want to provide any information on his condition or his prognosis. In fact, they still have not even told him us what stage he is in. When he asked the doctor (who did the surgery), he was told that “the stage doesn’t matter to me (the doc), and it shouldn’t matter to you (my husband)”. He has been told that they are pretty sure they got it all. They removed many lymph nodes during the surgery. Tests on the lymph nodes came back as negative for the cancer. However, during surgery they saw that the cancer had attached itself to the abdominal wall. The cancer was removed from the abdominal wall, along with a marginal area. The marginal area was tested and cancer cells were found in that area. His liver and lungs do no show any signs of cancer. Since the doctors aren’t giving any hint as to what stage he may be in, I decided to research online. But since none of his lymph nodes tested positive, but his abdominal wall has tested positive, I am confused as to whether this is considered Stage IIIA, IIIB, IIIC, IVA, or IVB. I am fairly convinced that he is past Stage II. Please provide me with your expert opinion as to what stage he may be at. Thank you.

Colon cancer is generally staged by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) criteria (source: Stages of Colon Cancer – National Cancer Institute). Being that the cancer has spread from his colon to the abdominal wall, he would be considered at least a Stage IIIC regardless of whether or not any lymph nodes were found to be positive during surgery. Whether or not he is a Stage IV depends on if he has any cancer cells in distant organs: Liver, Lung, Brain, etc – usually discovered on CT scan. But regardless of whether he would be classified a Stage IIIC or Stage IV, the treatment would likely involve the same regimen of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to be coordinated by the surgeon, oncologist and/or radiation oncologist.