Stage 1 Colon Cancer Symptoms
The colon and rectum are key parts of our digestive system. The colon absorbs water and salts, helping to maintain our body’s fluid and electrolyte balance before waste exits the rectum.
Unfortunately, this part of our digestive tract is also susceptible to developing cancer.
Colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, typically starts as a cluster of noncancerous or benign cells called polyps. Over time, some of the polyps in the colon can develop into cancerous cells. Eventually, these cells may even spread to other parts of the body.
What Does Cancer Staging Mean?
Determining the extent to which cancer has developed or spread is called “staging.” Identifying the cancer stage helps your doctor devise an effective treatment plan and predict the likely course and outcome of the disease.
Stage 1 colorectal cancer is early-stage colorectal cancer, meaning that the cancer is confined to the lining of the colon or rectum and hasn’t spread beyond the colon wall or into the lymph nodes.
Colon cancer is a serious disease. If left untreated, it can lead to severe complications and become life-threatening. However, in many cases, colon cancer can be successfully treated if caught early.
For this reason, knowing the colon cancer symptoms and undergoing cancer screening is essential.
What are Stage 1 Colon Cancer Symptoms?
Here are six symptoms of stage 1 colon cancer:
1. The Silent Nature of Stage 1 Colon Cancer
It is possible to have colon cancer and have no warning signs, and stage 1 colon cancer can develop without any apparent indicators or symptoms. As a result, delayed diagnosis and treatment can occur since you may not realize you have the disease until it has already advanced. This is why screening colonoscopies are so important.
2. Bowel Patterns Change
Colon cancer can cause a sudden and lasting change in bowel habits. You may experience an increase or decrease in the frequency of bowel movements, and symptoms can include diarrhea or constipation that doesn’t go away with standard treatments.
3. Stool Consistency and Appearance
Variations in the stool’s color, size, and shape may be a subtle indicator of colon cancer. Stools may become more narrow than usual, sometimes described as being pencil-thin. The stool may appear darker or have a tar-like consistency, which can indicate the presence of blood.
4. Cramping or Belly Pain
New or unusual cramps or pain during bowel movements should be monitored and further evaluated by your doctor. Persistent or unexplained discomfort warrants further investigation.
5. Weakness and Fatigue
A generalized tiredness or lethargy without a clear cause can be a warning sign. Though it may not be directly correlated to colon cancer, it is important to mention to your doctor if you are experiencing fatigue that is disproportionate to your activity level.
6. Unintended Weight Loss
Losing weight without any significant changes in diet or exercise routines can be a concerning symptom. Along with weight loss, you may experience a decrease in appetite if you’re suffering from stage 1 colon cancer.
Colonoscopy: Your First Line of Defense Against Colon Cancer
A colonoscopy is a medical test that helps doctors look inside and directly examine your bowel. When doctors do a colonoscopy, they can prevent cancer by removing suspicious polyps before they have a chance to grow.
Take a Proactive Health Approach and Prioritizing Colon Screening
Regular screenings, particularly colonoscopies, are essential in the absence of noticeable symptoms. Early detection through screening increases the success rate of treatments, offering a strong defense against the often undetectable advancement of colon cancer.
Take the first steps toward promoting your long-term colon health – schedule an appointment today!