Colon cancer or colorectal cancer affects the colon or the rectum and metastasizes in other parts of the body.
Data provided by the American Cancer Society shows that 1 in 24 women and 1 in 22 men are diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their life. Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the US.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, make sure you check up the symptoms and consult your doctor. Prevention is the best remedy which is why you have to learn more about the symptoms of this disease. Have you noticed any strange changes in your body?
Some symptoms are notable while others are silent. Colon cancer is usually diagnosed in its late stages, and unfortunately, sometimes it’s too late.
There are several symptoms you should be aware of, and we have covered them in this article.
1. Weight loss
Losing weight may be something you look forward to, but any sudden change in your weight may be a sign of something bad. Weight loss isn’t always a good thing, so make sure you consult a doctor.
Weight loss is one of the most common symptoms of colon cancer. If you keep losing weight without changing your diet or physical routine, you may be dealing with a serious health problem.
Sudden weight loss is often dangerous, and indicates a problem within the system. If you lose 10 pounds within half a year while sticking to the same diet regimen, you have a good reason to be concerned.
- Colon cancer sucks up your energy
- Your immune system and cancer cells will burn fuel quickly
- Some cancers release chemicals and affect your metabolism
Large colon tumors block the colon and affect your bowel movement. This may also be a sign of weight loss. Tumors affect appetite and increase metabolism, and you have every right to be nervous if this is your case.
2. Abdominal pain and bloating
Bloating is a common health issue, and most people aren’t worried about it. Being bloated doesn’t necessarily mean that you are dealing with something serious. However, if your bloating is accompanied with other symptoms, including your bowel movement issues, please do a check-up.
Severe abdominal cramping that causes pain is a good reason to see your doctor. Cramps may last for short periods, but if your cramping is here for over a week, you have a problem.
Bloating is a common sign of colon cancer, but it’s often overlooked. Long-lasting bloat is a clear sign that there’s something wrong down there.
Gases are also a reason to be worried. You may find this funny, but long-lasting flatulence doesn’t happen for no reason. You may have a blockage in your colon.
Anemia is a common ailment, and most people ignore it. It’s common during the menstrual cycle.
Anemia is a clear sign that there is a bleeding in your body. You can’t see it, because it’s a form of internal bleeding. Colon cancer is manifested through bleeding tumors that lead to iron deficiency.
Anemia usually shows up even half a year before you notice any problems with your bowel movement, so try not to rely on the connection between your stool and anemia.
Cancer patients don’t always test as anemic, but they do have the following symptoms:
These signs may indicate the presence of colon cancer. Tumors grow really fast, and your body is unable to keep up with them. This results in ulcers that soak up blood, leading to anemia.
4. Change in stools
Pay more attention to your stools. Your colon has an important role in creating and carrying stools through the system. Here are some signs you should pay attention to:
- Thin stools
Dr. Patricia Raymond says that narrow stools are a common and silent symptom of colon cancer, especially if your stools are usually wider. The tumor may be blocking the colon. Consult your doctor if you notice any change in the shape.
- Change in consistency
Any sudden change may indicate issues with your colon. If your stool is loose or watery, do the necessary check-up.
- Odd color
If you are dealing with colon cancer, there’s a great chance for your stool to become stained. It doesn’t have to be bloody. Any unusual hue is a reason for you to be worried.
- Bloody stool
There’s nothing positive about bloody stools. The blood may be barely visible or really notable. Dried blood makes stool dark.
Severe constipation that causes abdominal discomfort may be a sign of severe excretory problem. Constipation is a common issue, but long-lasting problems aren’t something you should ignore.
Tenesmus is the feeling you get when you feel like going to the bathroom. But, nothing happens once you get there. This is a common sign of tumors, as confirmed by gastroenterologist Dr. Jennifer Inra.
Excessive and inexplicable exhaustion is something you should be worried about.
Cancer patients have no energy, positive thinking or focus at work. Their immunity is low and they feel sick.
- Learn how to make a difference between sleepiness and fatigue
- Chronic fatigue is serious and shouldn’t be ignored
- It’s a common symptom of other ailments, but severe fatigue is a sign of a disease
- Colon cancer causes shortness of breath because your body puts additional plasma into the blood due to the bleeding, which slows down the oxygen flow.
6. Night sweat
Almost everyone sweats at night. Dr. Matthew Mintz explains that night sweats are really common in cancer patients due to the abscesses or perforations.
Night sweats are systemic. They are usually caused by immune system response, and may not be a direct product of the cancer.
The body struggles to fight the cancer, and becomes inflamed. That’s why cancer patients develop fever and they sweat. If your sweating turns on your panic mode, go to your doctor’s.
If your night sweat is combined with other symptoms, make a trip to your doctor.
If you have any of these symptoms, try to stay calm. These symptoms may be caused by pretty much anything. Consult your doctor, and do the regular tests to determine the real cause of your symptoms.
Every stage of colon cancer has different symptoms, and these become more severe over time. Before setting your own diagnose, make sure you are not being a hypochondriac.
Colon cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States. It’s more dangerous than other types of cancer mostly because there are almost no early signs.
Well, it’s not like there aren’t any early signs. Most people ignore them until it’s too late. When was the last time you saw someone stressing over their night sweat? Never? People don’t pay attention to sweating, anemia or watery stools.
Hopefully, this article will help you pay more attention to the signals your body sends.