Colon Cancer or Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. And it occurs most often in people older than 50. With 655,000 deaths worldwide per year, it is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. When it is found early, it is easily treated and often cured. But because it usually is not found early, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Knowing what are the symptoms of colon cancer is very important because it is easily treated if it is found early. The key is to find it as early as possible.
The first symptoms of colon cancer are usually vague, like bleeding, weight loss, and fatigue (tiredness). Local (bowel) symptoms are rare until the tumor has grown to a large size. Generally, the nearer the tumor is to the anus, the more bowel symptoms there will be.
The cecum and ascending colon are on the right side of your abdomen. Cancer in this area may bleed, causing blood in the stool and symptoms of anemia, including fatigue and weakness. The amount of blood may be small and so well mixed with a stool that your stool may look normal. The transverse colon goes across your body from right to left. Cancer here may cause abdominal cramps. The descending colon and the S-shaped sigmoid colon are on the left side of your abdomen and join the rectum. Cancer here may cause narrower stools and bright red blood in the stool.
The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer in the United States is about 7%. Colorectal cancer can take many years to develop and early detection of colorectal cancer greatly improves the chances of a cure. If you or your doctor thinks you have colon cancer then you will need a test, called a colonoscopy, that lets the doctor see the inside of your entire colon and rectum. During this test, your doctor will remove polyps or take tissue samples from any areas that don’t look normal.
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Some of these colon cancer symptoms can be caused by other conditions such as infections, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, and not necessarily colon cancer. However, if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, make sure to consult your physician as soon as possible.
Although vomiting can be a result of motion sickness, unpleasant smells, or viruses, when vomiting and nausea are accompanied by symptoms such as pain or constipation, then the cause could be colon cancer.
UNEXPLAINED LOSS OF WEIGHT
Weight loss is a success for many, but if you have no definable reason for your weight loss, there is a possibility that it was due to colon cancer. However, weight loss may not reveal colon cancer until it advances to a more extreme stage.
Furthermore, other reasons like diarrhea for more than a few days may be the cause of your weight loss. However, diarrhea itself can be a sign of colon cancer. When you experience conditions such as diarrhea, abdominal pain cause unnecessary loss of weight, make sure to seek professional medical advice.
Stomach cramps or bloating is a common experience for most people. Nevertheless, if the abdominal pain, cramps, or bloating is somehow unfamiliar or extreme, see a doctor know the cause. Make sure to monitor your body well to know when something is not right.
BLOOD IN STOOL
When it comes to anal bleeding, it is noteworthy that it is a serious matter regardless of the cause. See a doctor determine the cause of your bleeding whether it is hemorrhoids or a more serious issue such as colon cancer. Seeking medical attention will help you find the best treatment option for your condition.
CHANGES IN BOWEL BEHAVIORS
Changes in our bowel patterns are fairly common. It may be caused by constipation, diarrhea, or just by the type of food we eat. However, a persistent change in bowel habits may indicate the presence of colon cancer. It is therefore helpful to consult a doctor if your constipation or diarrhea persists for more than a few weeks.
Having narrower or abnormal stools or unusual changes in the appearance of your stool may indicate colon cancer. Consult the doctor if you see any of these changes to start receiving your dose of treatment.
Anemia is caused by low levels of red blood cells in our body. Furthermore, colon cancer may cause anemia due to an infinitesimal amount of chronic blood cells in our stool. This bleeding leads to the loss of iron in the red blood cells thus depleting the iron stored in the body. (2)
Women, on the other hand, experience a shortage of iron during their menstruation. However, for men, it is not common and there is the need for a further check-up by a physician to determine the deficiency.