Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is cancer that develops in the large intestine, especially the colon. The colon is located in the very last part of the digestive tract and plays an important role in removing waste products from the body. Colon cancer does not always cause symptoms in the early stages, therefore it is crucial to be aware of the possible symptoms and to be screened by colonoscopy as soon as one has reached a certain age. Older adults are most susceptible to colon cancer, which starts with a lump of cells forming inside the colon. These lumps of cells, called polyps, start non-cancerous but can become cancerous over time. Keep reading to learn some of the most common warning signs of colon cancer, so you can stay informed about your health.
Warning Signs of Colon Cancer
5. Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort
Abdominal pain and discomfort such as cramps, bloating and gas pains that are getting worse can be a sign of bowel cancer. Although there may be a benign cause for these sensations, you should make an appointment with your doctor if the pain and discomfort you are experiencing persist. Since the colon is part of the digestive system, cancer in this area can lead to changes in the way your abdomen feels daily.
4. Sudden weight loss
Unintentional weight loss of ten pounds or more within six months or less can be an early warning sign for many different types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. Weight loss occurs in combination with cancer because the presence of cancer cells can release substances into the body that change the way food is absorbed. Weight loss can also result from a blockage in the colon when the tumor has grown large enough, which will affect bowel movements and weight.
3. Changes in bowel movements
If you begin to experience inexplicable changes in your bowel movements and habits, such as diarrhea or constipation that lasts longer than normal, this may be an early warning sign for bowel cancer. The colon is the last part of the digestive system and plays an important role in processing waste and absorbing fluid as the body prepares for elimination. Cancer of the colon or rectum can cause a blockage, making it more difficult for the organ to do its job properly and causing changes in the elimination of waste.
2. Blood in Stool
Colon and rectal cancers do not always show symptoms, but one of the most common warning signs is the presence of blood in the stool. It is important to note that the presence of blood in the stool does not automatically mean that you have bowel cancer. Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are much more common causes of the presence of blood in the stool, but the issue should still be referred to your doctor so the cause can be identified and addressed.
The presence of cancer cells in the body uses much of the body’s energy, which leads to fatigue. Although fatigue can indicate a large number of problems in the body, ranging from sleep deprivation to nutritional deficiencies, it can also indicate something as serious as bowel cancer. You should always pay attention to your body, and if you notice any significant changes in your energy level, bring it up with your doctor.
See Also: Early Signs & Symptoms of Colon Cancer