Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death and accounts for 50 000 deaths a year. It is more often seen in patients than one can imagine, and it can be misleading. Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer depend of its location, its progression and its influence on internal organs and tissue. Only one sign or symptom sometimes can be enough to determine the cause, but if there are several symptoms, doctor can better understand potential cause.
Sometimes symptoms of colorectal cancer do not show up until cancer is developed. Regarding the fact that symptoms can be undetectable during an early phase of the disease, clinical practice advises screening for colon cancer and should begin at age 50. Statistics show that regular check ups can prevent more then 60% of death cases that are caused by colon cancer.
5 colon cancer symptoms
1. Unexplained weight loss
Sudden weight loss is often symptom that is present in several types of cancer, including cancer of colon. Non intended weight loss up to 10 kg or more, in six months or less without knowing the cause. Colorectal cancer can lead to unexplained weight loss on different ways. Cancer cells use a lot of energy, and immune system also uses energy while is trying to suppress the disease. Cancer cells can release substances into the body that change the way of converting food into energy, which can be cause of weight loss.
Beside that, if cancer in the colon grows up, it can block the colon. This blockage can influence the gut microbiome, which can lead to unexplained weight loss.
2.Tiredness and weakness
You can easily mix tiredness with simply being exhausted. Mental strain between work and private life can cause sense of tiredness in all people. If exhaustion doesn’t go away after rest, it could be fatigue. Beside colorectal cancer, tiredness and weakness can be symptom of diabetes, anemia and heart problems.
Causes of anxiety
Similar to unexplained loss of weight, cancer cells can cause fatigue because they use the energy of the body. Sometimes colon cancer can cause fatigue due to internal loss of blood.
In many cases symptoms of colon cancer are related. Other symptoms of colon cancer, like unintentional weight loss and change in gut microbiome, can increase sense of weakness.
Fatigue is chronic sense of weakness and exhaustion without obvious reason. If you realize what could be the reason of constant fatigue, it is important to see your doctor so the real cause can be determined.
Many people have pain in the stomach in certain moment of their life. As many other symptoms it can look insignificant. It is common symptom of non cancerous issues like hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, stomach pain that started recently and is serious and long lasting can be a sign of cancer.
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon) and it can influence the bowel movements. This change in functioning of the bowels can lead to spasm, bloating and abdominal pain and can indicate the colon cancer.
4.Blood in the stool
Warning sign for colon cancer or rectum is blood in the stool. Sometimes it can be seen light red spots in the stool but next time they will not be seen by the naked eye. Seriousness of the symptoms depends on the progression of the disease and its location.
Stool also can be dark or black, which means presence of dried blood. If in the stool it can be observed any sign of blood, you should contact your doctor. Fecal occult blood test can detect if there is blood in the stool, and additional examinations can help doctor to determine the blood cause and right treatment.
Rectal bleeding usually is caused by the bleeding in the lower part of the large intestine is common symptom of colorectal cancer. Bright red blood on the toilet paper after bowel movement or red or pink water in the water closet can be sign of rectal bleeding. People often attribute rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids, which can prevent early diagnostic of cancer.
Everyone with rectal bleeding should consult doctor immediately. If you are over 40, doctor will probably recommend test like colonoscopy which would exclude cancer.
5.Changes in stool
Polyps on the colon, small group of cells on the edge of the colon can develop into cancer over time. When polyps develop into cancer, slow growth of tumor interferes with bowel emptying which can lead to different health issues. If you notice that your stool has become more rare, or that frequency in bowel frequency has changed, it could be sign of the colon cancer.
Change in stool consistency
Colon cancer can disturb ability of the colon to perform usual tasks, like getting rid of body harmful toxins, but also water absorption and nutrients. Drastically changes in stool consistency can be sign that something is not quite right. Watery, liquid stools, diarrhea or constipation that are not related with other causes, can be a sign of the disease.
Check up regularly
As with all other types of cancer, treatment is most successful when colorectal cancer is diagnosed on time, in early phase. Fortunally, rate of colon cancer has dropped in the recent ten years due to increase of colonoscopy and screening of the colon.
Beside regular visits to your doctor, recognizing the common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can save your life.
Many of the symptoms can help you, and they can be sign of dangerous diseases. Cancer discovery in the early phases can save your life, so it is important to be informed and recognize the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. If you have some of these symptoms or wish to know more about your personal risk of developing colon cancer, you can call Atlas general hospital and our surgical team that is expert in colorectal surgery.