Colon Cancer can lead to death and is something that we should not ignore. Everyone should know the early symptoms and 13 early warning signs of colon cancer and see a doctor if you have any of the 13 early warning signs of colon cancer listed below. We urge everyone to get regular screening for bowel cancer because they are vital for early detection and it is not hard to get the test done.
The American Cancer Association mentioned that bowel (cancer in the colon or rectum) cancer is one of the five most common cancers in the United States in men and women. 90 percent of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if they are detected early so please pay attention to the 13 early warning signs of colon cancer.
Simple things like blood in your stool, abdominal pain, changes in your bowel habits, weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea and other symptoms you might not think of can be signs of bowel cancer or other health issues.
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada mentions that not everyone will experience symptoms of bowel cancer as the symptoms can be mild. Some people might have some of the symptoms below but do not have cancer because there is other illness that can cause similar symptoms. It is easy to overlook the symptoms below because they might be subtle and we shrug it off as stress or something we ate.
The 13 early signs of colon cancer below will help you to notice the early signs of colon cancer that can potentially save your life or someone you know. One of the obvious reason to have yourself checked for colon cancer is if a close (parent or sibling) family member was diagnosed with colon cancer. It is always wise to take precautions and check yourself more often than usual when a close family member has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness although we might not get/have it.
13 Early Warning Signs of Colon Cancer
Gong to the bathroom to have bowel movements or poop and not being able to relieve your urge to poop after finishing might be a sign of colon cancer. Bowel urges is different from constipation in which it is hard for you to pass stool. So basically, bowel urges is when you feel the need to poop or have a bowel movement several times a day and you just do not feel relieved and feel like you need to go again. Bowel urges are common in people who have cancer in their distant colon or rectum where cancer causes increased pressure in the bowel.
Blood in Stools
Finding any color (bright red or dark) of blood or mucous mixed with your stool/poop might be an indication of cancer. Cancer damages our blood vessel and ravages the walls of our colon as it grows. That can potentially cause the blood from our vessels to go into our colon which can be seen as drops of blood in the toilet, smear of blood on the toilet paper or in our stool.
Doctors can order a fecal occult blood test which is taking a sample of your stool to analysis in a pathology laboratory.
Cleveland Clinic said that the most telltale sign of colorectal cancer is blood in the stool. People should speak to their doctor if blood is visible in their stool because it can also be related to other health issues such as Chron’s disease, anal tears, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis and bleeding in the digestive tracts.
Almost everyone knows their body and how their bowel movements are and how it can change if they eat certain types of food.
People with colon cancer might have a change in their bowel movements.
Example: An individual who might have regular solid bowel movements might start going to the bathroom more frequently with looser bowel movements. You should see a doctor if those symptoms last for over a few weeks because it could be a sign of cancer.
Diarrhea and constipation are two different things.
Diarrhea is when you have an abnormal frequency of loose fluidity of fecal evacuations.
Constipation is when you have a difficult time passing stool which comes out hard and sometimes dry.
BMC Medicine Journal mentioned in one of their articles that one of every five colon cancer patient experience diarrhea and persistent diarrhea is not a good sign.
Blackish and Tarry Stool
You should see a doctor if you have blackish or tarry looking stool as it can be a sign of colon cancer. Your stool can look black or tarry when there is bleeding higher up in your colon because the blood then has time to break down before it exits your body. Bleeding from your stomach, small intestines or esophagus might cause your stool to be dark and tarry also.
Bowel cancer can make your stool look maroon or dark in color and make your stool appears sticky which can be a result of your intestine bleeding. Your stool may also be as thin as a pen or look like a ribbon or extremely narrow. Some cancer patients experience normal bowel movements between this abnormal movements.
Hard time Passing Stool
Hard time passing stool and constipation is different as hard time passing stool means that you are passing stool but it can be quite difficult to do so. Straining to pass your stool might make you feel as though you still have more fecal matter in your after leaving the bathroom. Having a difficult time passing stool may be a result of colon cancer large mass that possibly is blocking the intestinal lumen which makes it hard to pass stool.
About 50 percent or more people with colon cancer have experienced their rectum bleeding which is a very common sign of colon cancer. Rectum bleeding can be a result of a strenuous bowel movement. The blood is usually bright red. Bleeding can be a result of the colon cancer large mass which might have become ulcerates and bleeds everytime you try to poop. There are some cases, where the mass bleeds without passing stool.
Nausea and Vomiting
Being nauseated and vomiting constantly can be linked to many illnesses. If you are experiencing vomiting or feeling nauseated at or around the same time as having other symptoms from this page then you should consider seeing a doctor.
Some people experience abdominal pain and cramping because colon cancer irritates the intestines lining where cancer grows. Cramping and stomach pain do not necessarily mean you have colon cancer as the pain can also be from other sicknesses such as infections and inflammatory conditions. There are patients with colon cancer that does not experience any abdominal pain or cramps at all.
Individuals experiencing slight or severe abdominal cramps and flatulence constantly should see a doctor because that might be a warning sign of colon cancer.
Canadian Cancer Society conducted a research that states that abdominal pain can result from various cancer. People should know there body and feel for suspicious lump and see a doctor if they have persistent chronic cramps, sharp pain in the abdomen from abdominal discomfort, gas and feeling of fullness or bloating that is uncomfortable.
Stringy narrow looking stool added to other symptoms from this article can cause a concern for colon cancer. A stringy stool is also referred to as “low-caliber” or “pencil-thin” stool. Sometimes stringy stool calls for a simple solution such as adding more fiber to your diet but sometimes it is an indication of a serious problem. If you are eating more fiber and you are still passing stringy stool then it might be time to see the doctor.
Colon cancer can cause individuals to have anemia because of blood loss which decreases your red blood cell count. Some symptoms of anemia are shortness of breath, pallor, constantly tired, and feeling week often.
People with colon cancer might shrug off the 3 symptoms below as normal because they might not expect those 3 symptoms to be early signs of colon cancer.
Lightheadedness, Weakness or Fatigue
Experiencing weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness can be another sign of colon cancer. As Colon cancer can sometimes cause bleeding in the intestines which results in chronic bleeding over time and cause you to have anemia. Anemia equals to iron deficiency which might cause you to feel tired, weak and fatigue often. Colon cancer is not the only type of cancer that can cause you to feel fatigue, tired and weak.
Rapid Weight Loss
Individuals can lose a lot of weight although he or she might eat a lot because colon cancer can cause people to lose weight rapidly. The colon cannot absorb the nutrients (minerals, protein, and vitamins) it usually absorbs because of cancer resulting in more than one-third of people experiencing unexplained weight loss.
Constipation is when you have a hard time or cannot pass stool because the stool is severely hard and is also when you do not have a bowel movement for days which can be a result of many things including colon cancer. Constipation is more common than we think and can be benign but it is better to be safe than sorry so check with a doctor of it persist for over 2 weeks. Constipation can be a result of various things including poor diet, change in diet, not exercising enough and dehydration.