Early Signs & Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is becoming an increasing problem for Americans, and the risk factors for developing this disease jump remarkably after we reach the age of 50. While there are some early warning signs of colon cancer, the best method of detection is a colorectal cancer scan. This should be received at least once every five years and more often if you are in a high risk group. In addition, if you notice any of the following symptoms, a colonoscopy can help determine whether or not there is an underlying health problem.
Changes in bowel habits
– This is the most common symptom of colon cancer, but since there are many other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, they often go unnoticed. The changes may include frequent constipation, or diarrhea, particularly if they occur more than three times in a week. Changes in the size of the stool may also be an indication that something is wrong. Stools that are narrower than normal may indicate that there is a blockage in the colon.
Blood in the stool
– This may go undetected for years, especially if the bleeding is occult, or internal. This blood is usually quite dark and it may be difficult to spot. Other bleeding is usually quite red in color. It is very important to monitor the color of your stools and check for occult or rectal bleeding, as these can be serious signs.
Stomach pain and or cramping
– Unusual pain in your stomach area or frequent cramping may be a sign that there is an abnormality in your colon. This symptom may be passed off as gas, but if you are experiencing frequent or unusual pains, it is vital to report these symptoms to your physician.
A feeling of pressure on your rectum
– This is usually described as feeling the need to go to the bathroom, but no bowel movement takes place. Even if you are able to pass a movement, you may still feel that pressure.
Weakness and fatigue
– These symptoms have many possible causes, particularly when they are infrequent and intermittent. More chronic symptoms may indicate that something more serious is present, and they may also be a result of anemia, which is common with rectal or internal bleeding. If you experience sudden weakness or a fatigue that you cannot shake for more than a few days, it is vital to speak with your physician.
This article was published on July 16, 2012, and was last updated on March 29th, 2016 in Helpful Articles.
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