Did you know colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the globe? Yes, it is! Yet, not many people are aware of this deadly disease.
According to The American Cancer Society, approximately 104,610 new colon cancer cases will be identified in 2020 in only the United States. Alarmed? Don’t worry! You would be happy to know that, if detected early, the disease is beatable.
So, having an understanding of the disease is very important if you want a chance at saving yourself and your dear ones from the wrath of cancer. In this article, you can gather knowledge of what colon cancer is, and learn about some of its telltale signs.
What Is Colon Cancer: Who’s At Risk?
Colon cancer is exactly what the name suggests – a malignancy that starts in the colon (or large intestine). A small clump of cells called the colon polyps form on the colon lining, which then gradually turns cancerous. While anyone can be the victim of this life-threatening condition, some people are more at risk than others.
Older people are more prone to colon cancer. Typically, screenings are recommended for individuals over 50 years of age as this is when most patients are diagnosed with the disease. However, individuals who have a family history of this cancer are advised to get screened much sooner.
Irrespective of your age and family history, never disregard symptoms of colon cancer! You can have a cancerous colon at any age, even if your chances of getting it are low. Therefore, it is critical to look out for symptoms of colon cancer. If you are clueless, below is a list of some of the alarming colon cancer symptoms you need to look out for.
Change in Bowel Habits and Blood in Stool
The growth of a tumor in the bowel can impact the frequency of bowel movement and stool consistency. Colon cancer hampers the large intestine’s ability to dispose of waste and absorb nutrients and water.
This is why patients often experience a change in the number of times they have to use the toilet and complain about unexplained constipation or loose watery stools. If bowel inconsistencies such as constipation, diarrhea, and narrowing of stool last longer than a couple of days, you should consult a doctor.
Blood in stool is another very alarming symptom of colon cancer. The stool can have bright red spots, or appear very dark, both of which can hint at the presence of fresh or dried blood in the stool.
Long-lasting Abdominal Cramps
Abdominal cramps are the most ignored symptoms of colon cancer. Even though it is a common consequence of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and ulcers, they can also signal a cancerous colon.
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain that just won’t go away, it can be a cancer symptom. So, do not just take an ibuprofen and wait for the pain to subside! Colon cancer affects bowel habits and leads to bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain.
It is about time that you take stomach aches more seriously. Of course, these cramps may seem like a minor inconvenience, but never again should you ignore them as abdominal cramps are an indicator of colon cancer.
Weight Loss and Fatigue
Unexplained weight loss, a usual cancer symptom, is also common among colon cancer patients. Individuals may lose over 10 pounds in less than six months when ambushed by colon cancer.
In addition to weight loss due to blockage of the bowel by a tumor, weight loss can be triggered by cancer cells since cancer patients’ energy supply is rapidly depleted by cancer cells. Another reason for dramatic energy burn is the immune system which works hard to fight the disease.
As the cancer cells continue to exploit the cancer victim’s energy reserve and sometimes even trigger internal blood loss, the patient may experience severe fatigue. Do not ignore prolonged exhaustion and weakness as tiredness, for it can be a symptom of colon cancer.
Now that you know colon cancer is more common than you think, be sure to keep an eye out for these sneaky cancer symptoms. With early detection and appropriate screening, the disease is entirely treatable.