Many people may not be aware of the warning signs for colon cancer. Cancer is usually detected at later stages because people are not very aware of the warning signs of the disease. It is important for colon cancer to be detected at the earliest time possible so that its metastasis or spread can be effectively prevented.
Cancer detected at later stages can be very dangerous and life threatening. This is the reason why knowing the warning signs of colon cancer are very essential. First of all, you should be able to understand what colon cancer is and what its risk to overall health is.
Looking Into The Condition: What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is also known as bowel cancer or colorectal cancer. This medical condition involves the development of cancer cells in different parts of the colon and even the rectum. Some of the most common symptoms associated with colon cancer are rectal bleeding and observable changes in bowel movements.
There are several risk factors that are associated with the development of colon cancer. First of all, people older than 60 usually have more risk in developing the said disease. Also, people who are known to have a diet that is high in red meats and processed foods are also more prone to developing it. Having a family history of cancer is also a great risk factor for developing colon cancer. If you realize that you have at least one of the said risk factors, you should definitely be more cautious about your health and you must clearly understand the colon cancer warning signs as much as possible.
Here are the most common warning signs that are associated with colon cancer development.
Change in Bowel Movements
A persistent change in bowel movement is greatly associated with the occurrence of colon cancer. The specific change in bowel movement that is associated with colon cancer is diarrhea. In the early stages, colon cancer may only be asymptomatic, but one noticeable sign at such a period is the change in bowel habits caused by the slow growth of tumors. If you do not have any experience with diarrhea, you can clearly experience this warning sign. Usually, diarrhea that is associated with colon cancer is very persistent and does not easily resolve even after a few days. Upon experiencing such, you should consult your physician immediately.
Another colon cancer warning sign is known as abdominal cramping. The cramping is caused by the pressure created by the growth of tumors in the intestines. Sometimes, abdominal pain and cramping can be confused as a result of other medical conditions or simply as normal occurrences, such as menstruation. This is the reason why you should consult your physician immediately once you experience a persistent and unique kind of abdominal pain that is not associated with any other condition. Several diagnostic tests can be conducted to be able to identify the main cause of such abdominal pain properly.
Vomiting can also be considered as one of the warning signs of colon cancer. Once the tumor develops in the intestine, certain responses of the body can cause vomiting and nausea. The tumor can cause increased pressure upon the organs in the abdomen, primarily in the intestines.
Also, tumors that have already increased in size may cause bowel obstruction and once this happens, the bowel contents cannot move out of the body properly. This will cause increased pressure in the intestines, which forces the bowel contents to be pushed out of the mouth. Once vomiting persists for several days and is not easily relieved by any kind of intervention, you should seek proper medical help so that the cause of vomiting will be properly evaluated. Several diagnostic tests may also be required to properly evaluate vomiting and to determine any possible existence of tumors.
Another evident sign of colon cancer is persistent bloating of the abdomen. The increased size of the tumor can definitely cause persistent abdominal bloating. The abdomen normally feels soft, but when cancer is presence due to the growth of tumor, rigidity can definitely be felt. Abdominal bloating can usually be associated with intestinal gas and or premenstrual syndrome. Once you feel this problem, you should seek proper medical help to be able to determine the main cause of the bloating.
Unreasonable Weight loss
One of the most common warning signs not only of colon cancer, but also of other types of cancer, is unreasonable weight loss. The weight loss that is associated with cancer is described to be sudden. Persons with colon cancer are not able to maintain their normal food intake and may even eat less than what the body needs. Aside from this, the tumor can also be threatening to the body’s nutritional makeup because they get end up getting most of the nutrients that the body absorbs from food.
Changes in the Shape of the Stool
One observable warning sign of colon cancer is the noticeable change in the shape of the stool. This is caused by the presence of tumors in the intestines, which leaves a narrow passageway for the stools to be evacuated from. The stools take the shape of the narrow passage and look different than usual, and are described to be pencil-like. Once you observe that your stools are narrower than usual, you should consult your doctor immediately and take the necessary diagnostic and laboratory tests to identify the underlying cause of such a problem.
These are some of the most common warning signs of colon cancer that you should definitely be aware of. You should not neglect any of these signs if you detect them or experience them. Seeking medical attention as early as possible will prevent you from experiencing the consequences that cancer can have on your body. All of the colon cancer warning signs should be addressed as early as possible as the outcome is often always better when detected early because treatment can be started to prevent the spread of cancerous cell.