When a person is operated for colon cancer and pathological reports show that the cancer has not spread to the surrounding areas but has just penetrated through the layers of the colon, it is classified as stage 1 colon cancer, which was formerly known as Dukes A colon cancer.
This is an early stage of colon cancer where the disease has spread into the mucosa and the sub mucosa and maybe a little into the bigger layers of muscle. In stage 1 colon cancer the cancer does not totally penetrate the colon walls and thus does not enter the abdominal cavity or the nearby organs and lymph nodes.
Cancer in the colon can be detected in the early stages during the course of a routine colonoscopy. If the doctor sees early signs of abnormalities or polyps in the colon he may be able to remove them during the colonoscopy. The polyps thus removed can be sent for pathological testing and if they discover anything suspicious, then further tests can be done to evaluate the spread of the cancer in the colon.
In stage 1 colon cancer the polyp turns into a tumor and has moved into the colon or rectal wall. Recovery with surgery is good at this stage before the cancer spreads.
Stage 1 colon cancer treatment
The cancer can be removed by surgery, which is the main treatment for stage 1 colon cancer. It can be done through an open surgery, where a single large incision is made and the affected area removed. Another form of treatment for stage 1 colon cancer is laparoscopic surgery in which several small incisions are made, to remove the cancer. The surgeon will also have to remove some lymph nodes to confirm that the cancer has not spread. Regular checkups and screenings should be done to rule out the possibility of the cancer recurring.
Stage 1 colon cancer is also treated by multi-modality methods, in which two or more techniques are used to cure the patient and to increase the survival rate.
Patients suffering from stage 1 colon cancer are also encouraged to take part in clinical trials where innovative therapies are used. Each patient’s condition is unique and the doctor should consider what treatment would suit each individual and also take into consideration the potential risks.
Normally chemotherapy is not given to patients with stage 1 colon cancer. Sometimes surgeons may recommend chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor thus making it easier to remove. This procedure is known as neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. In other cases the patient may have to undergo adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery to kill any cancerous cells that may have remained. This prevents the disease from recurring.
A person can lower the risk of contracting stage 1 colon cancer symptoms by undergoing regular screening. High risk factors of colon cancer such as a high fat and low fiber diet should be avoided. A healthy lifestyle with exercise, a high fiber diet and avoiding smoking and alcohol is recommended. This is especially true for obese people and those who have a family history of colon cancer.
Since stage 1 colon cancer is one of the earlier stages of the disease it can easily be cured and the patient has a high survival rate.