Colorectal Cancer Stage I
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Stage I Colorectal Cancer
Stage I colorectal cancer means the cancer has grown through the muscularis mucosa (the thin, innermost muscle lining of the colon or rectum) and into the submucosa (the second layer of muscle lining). Or, it may also have grown into the muscularis propria. In short, the cancer has grown through the lining of the colon or rectum into the second or third layers of muscle lining surrounding the organ. The cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites.
The difference between colon cancer and rectal cancer is the location where the tumor originates. Since the two types of cancer are similar, they can both often be referred to as simply colorectal cancer.
Similarly to stage 0, stage I colorectal cancer is still considered localized, and has a five-year survival rate of over 93 percent.
TNM CategoriesA stage I colorectal cancer diagnosis occurs in conjunction with the following TNM categories:
- T1-T2 – If the cancer has grown through the muscularis mucosa and into the submucosa, it is considered T1. Or, if the cancer has grown into the muscularis propria, then it is classified as T2.
- N0 – The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- M0 – There has been no spreading to organs or other nearby areas.
What Is Stage I Colorectal Cancer?
Many cases of colorectal cancer will have no symptoms. This is especially true of the earlier stages of the disease. However, the following symptoms below could be an indication of colon or rectal cancer.
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Diarrhea, constipation or a change in bowel habits
- Narrow stools
- Unexplained weight loss
NOTE: These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. It is important to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for people over the age of 50 and for those who have risk factors for developing the disease, such as a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp (a growth of tissue that develops in the lining of the colon or rectum). Screening tests, such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, enable doctors to check for colorectal polyps and abnormalities in the colon and rectum.
With proper screening, colorectal cancer can be detected early, which can lead to more positive treatment results.
Stage I Colorectal Cancer Treatment
In this early stage of colorectal cancer, the cancer cells have not broken through the lining of the colon or rectum. Therefore, surgery can often be the only type of treatment necessary.
If you need to undergo surgery for colorectal cancer, at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) you’ll meet with a surgical oncologist to plan your treatment. He or she will explain the recommended procedure(s) at a level you can understand. Your surgical oncologist will encourage you to ask questions and help you make treatment decisions that are right for you.
Some surgical options that are performed at CTCA to treat colorectal cancer in stage I are listed below:
Resection: During this process, the doctor removes the cancer and limited amounts of surrounding healthy tissue. The healthy parts are then sewn together so that the bowel can still function normally.
Laparoscopic Surgery: Also known as minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery, in this innovative surgical technique a small incision is created, and then a laparoscope is inserted into the area where the surgery will take place. The laparoscope allows cameras to display enlarged images of the surgical process on TV monitors. The abdomen is usually “blown up” so that the abdomen wall is elevated to allow for a larger viewing space. The smaller incision can be beneficial in terms of less hemorrhaging, shorter recovery time and reduced pain.
For some who are not able to have surgery, radiation therapy can also be used to treat colorectal cancer in stage I.
All of our doctors and other clinicians who form your dedicated CTCA care team will work with you to develop and implement an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific diagnosis, personal needs and preferences. Your care team will provide encouragement, support and compassion throughout your colorectal cancer treatment.