Therefore, it is good to know what are the main symptoms of colon cancer.
Colon cancer occurs when cells that outline the colon or the rectum grow abnormally, causing inflammation in the large intestine.
As with other types of cancer, it can attack the body very quickly, causing various difficulties.
Who is most likely to get colon cancer?
Men have a tremendous risk of developing colon cancer than women. (2)
You are under high risk of developing colon cancer if you have colonies of polyps — a history of colon cancer disease in your family. Or if you have ulcerative colitis. (2)
Other risk factors can include:
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- History of bowel disease
- History of colon polyps
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Lack of physical activity
If you have these above risk factors, it is a good idea to get screened before you have symptoms.
How long does it take for colon cancer to develop?
It can take around ten years for the little precancerous polyp to grow into cancer.
Early detection of colon cancer and appropriate medical treatment can increase the life expectancy of people diagnosed with this type of cancer.
That is why it suitable to know first signs that indicate the presence of colon cancer in your body and to see the doctor as soon as possible.
1. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
Bleeding from the anus without having a bowel movement or presence of blood in the stool is one of the most well-known indications of colon cancer. (3)
You may even have a very thin stool with dark patches of blood.
Although numerous conditions can cause this symptom, its presence may indicate the appearance of tumors in the intestines.
Often it can be commonly confused with the kind of blood you see with hemorrhoids, but usually in more large amounts.
If you experience these symptoms longer than four weeks, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.
2. Change in your bowel habits
Both constipation and diarrhea can occur due to colon cell irregularities.
If you regularly experience symptoms such as a change in the consistency of your stool, diarrhea. Or constipation that more prolonged than four weeks, it is advisable to go to your doctor.
Although the symptoms mentioned above may frequently occur due to certain bad habits, it is good to consider seeing your doctor.
3. Abdominal pain
It’s hard to compare abdominal pain with colon cancer because indigestion or apparent problems with the stomach are often the basis of this discomfort.
You may feel pain in your lower abdomen, cramping, and excess gas. That can be caused by larger polyps or by tumors that penetrate the wall of the colon.
However, if the pains are frequent and have no reason, it is vital to go to a doctor if you experience these symptoms for weeks.
Vomiting caused by indigestion or different digestive distress is regular and usually disappears within a few hours.
However, if need to vomit is recurrent with cramping in the stomach and constipation without any reason, it can be a cause for concern.
If you have a lot of blood loss in your stools, you can become anemic.
Anemia is a disease caused by a decrease in the number of erythrocytes.
That can also lead to fatigue and weakness with colon cancer.
Although anemia can be caused by genetic factors, inappropriate nutrition, or excessive blood loss, one of the causes may be colon cancer.
Iron deficiency may be chronic with colon cancer, and you may need to be treated for this problem.
6. Sudden weight loss
If you have unexplained weight loss and you are not on a diet, it could be one of the symptoms of colon cancer.
Your body uses extra energy to fight against cancer cells, and increased metabolism can burn extra calories.
You should know that cancer cells and tumors also steal nutrients.
Tell your doctor if you lose a lot of your body weight in a short period without trying to lose weight.
7. Stools that are thinner than normal
If you have large polyps in the colon, your stools may be more narrow than usual.
They often look pencil-shaped and thin, which may be a warning of narrowing or blocking of the colon due to colon cancer.
See a doctor if you mark any changes in your bowel habits.
8. The feeling of weakness and fatigue
Colon cancer can make you feel weaker and tired.
That is often due to bleeding in the colon, and the immune system is trying to fight against cancer cells.
If you experience weakness and fatigue for more than a week, you should see your doctor.
Can colon cancer be prevented?
Yes, there are some actions you can take that might help lower your risk of colon cancer such as: (4)
- Improving your level of physical activity
- Eat a different type of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoiding excess alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Always exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight.