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Colonoscopy showing cancer

A relative had a large polyp removed and following tests, it was found to contain cancerous cells. All I know is that the doctors are extremely positive and said that from looking at the cancerous cells they are very confident that it's very early stage.

However, they have to do more tests to determine the stage of cancer and whether it has spread.

My question is, what can doctors actually look for in the polyp that was removed, and how do their findings impact the likelihood of it being a certain stage of cancer in the follow up tests?
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