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The first step in staging your cancer is to decide the individual values for each part of the TNM system. Here's what the letters stand for in the TNM system.
T tells how far a tumor has spread into the lining of your colon or rectum and nearby tissue.
N tells whether or not the lymph nodes in the area of the original tumor have become cancerous.
M tells whether or not the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other distant organs in the body, such as your liver, lung, or lining of your abdomen.
Numerical values are assigned to the T, N, and M categories. There are also two other values that can be assigned. The first is X, which means the doctor does not have enough information to assess the tumor size, lymph node involvement, or metastatic spread. This value is often assigned before surgery. The other value is "in situ (is)." This means the cancer is in its earliest stages and has not spread beyond the first layer of the colon or rectum wall.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.