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December 7, 2020

5 Early Symptoms of Colon Cancer

5 Early Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a serious condition, but it's much easier to treat when it's caught early. While colon cancer doesn't often cause symptoms at the early stages, the sooner it's caught, the easier it is to treat. If you notice any of these changes and they don't go away on their own in a few days, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

1. Changes in bowel habits

One of the first signs of colon cancer may be a change in your bowel habits. For example, you may begin having constipation, diarrhea or narrow stools. All of these changes can be normal if they are temporary, but you should mention them to your doctor if they don't go away after a few days.

Keep in mind that some people have long-lasting changes in bowel habits because of other less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. However, you should always see a doctor to rule out cancer when bowel habits change and don't go back to normal.

2. Blood in the stool

One of the cardinal signs of colon cancer is blood in the stool. In some cases, this blood may be bright red and very noticeable. It may appear on its own, or you may notice it only with bowel movements. In other cases, blood from colon cancer may turn the stool darker. Bleeding can also be so mild that you don't see it at all.

Blood in your stool may have many different causes, including hemorrhoids or other issues. However, any blood you notice on toilet paper or in your stool should always be reported to your doctor, especially if it happens more than once.

3. Anemia

Colon cancer often causes bleeding, sometimes without you knowing it. When there is consistent blood loss, you may develop anemia. Anemia is a condition caused by too few red blood cells to carry oxygen efficiently throughout your body.

You may discover that you are anemic on a routine blood test, or you may suspect the condition when you notice the symptoms of anemia such as extreme fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, cold hands and feet, and pale skin.

Anemia has many possible causes, including a simple lack of iron in your diet. However, because you could have internal bleeding and not realize it, the cause of anemia should always be investigated to rule out serious illnesses like colon cancer.

4. Abdominal pain

Some people with colon cancer may not have pain until the disease is in its later stages, depending on the location of the tumor and other factors. However, for others, abdominal pain can be an early sign of colon cancer. Like many of the other symptoms of colon cancer, abdominal pain can have a lot of other causes. If you are experiencing abdominal pain that isn't explained by some other condition, it is time to talk to your doctor.

5. Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss is another possible symptom of colon cancer. In fact, unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of several different types of cancer. If you lose more than ten pounds over a period of a few months without trying, it may be the sign of a problem.

If you notice any of these changes, or if you experience any other signs of colon cancer, please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, your doctor may recommend bloodwork, a colonoscopy, or other forms of testing to rule out colon cancer. If you are over the age of 50 or are at high risk of developing this disease, it is also important to schedule colon cancer screenings as recommended by your physician.

Categories: Colorectal Cancer