Colon cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people around the world. It is one of the most common cancers in people of all genders, and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
However, the good news is that colon cancer is highly treatable if detected early. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer so that you can seek medical attention promptly.
Change in bowel habits:
One of the most common signs of colon cancer is a change in bowel habits. This includes constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence. While these symptoms can be associated with other less serious problems, they can also be symptoms of colon cancer.
Blood in the stool:
If you notice blood in your stool, it can be a sign of colon cancer. Other health problems can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, but if you start to experience bloody stool, see your doctor to rule out a serious condition.
Colon cancer can cause a shortage of cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, leading to unexplained anemia. If you’re anemic, you may find that you’re tired, sluggish, and short of breath, and that rest doesn’t help.
Abdominal or pelvic pain or bloating:
Colon cancer can cause abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating, or cramps. These symptoms are often associated with other conditions, but they can also be a sign of colon cancer.
Unexplained weight loss:
If you experience unexplained weight loss, it can be a sign of colon cancer. This is because cancer cells can use up your body’s energy stores, causing you to lose weight.
While vomiting is not a common symptom of colon cancer, it can occur in advanced stages of the disease. If you experience persistent vomiting, it’s important to see your doctor.
Remember, colon cancer can sometimes be present without any symptoms. Therefore, it’s crucial to have regular screenings to catch problems before they arise. The most common screening evaluation is a colonoscopy, a short procedure to examine your large bowel. However, there are other ways too, including blood tests, DNA stool tests, and more.
Your risk of colorectal cancer rises as you age, so you should start being screened at age 45. If you have a family history of colon and rectal cancers, talk to your doctor about getting screened sooner. Other risk factors include having black ancestry, living a sedentary lifestyle, consuming high quantities of alcohol, eating a high-fat, low-fiber diet, smoking, obesity, and a history of inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes.
The reality is that anyone can get colon cancer, regardless of their risk factors or family history. However, with prompt treatment, the outlook is hopeful for people with colorectal cancer. Data shows that early screenings are saving lives by detecting colon cancer earlier than ever before. So know the signs, stay vigilant, and get screened. Your health is in your hands.