Colon cancer starts off in this region of the digestive system and affects the colon as well as the rectum- located in the posterior portion of the colon. With very few single causes attributed to the disease, colorectal cancer triggers off as noncancerous (benign) polyps and develops into malignant growth in a speedy way.
Colon, an important and integral part of the digestive system, helps in the proper absorption of water, minerals and nutrients. The colon is also responsible for the formation of stool and plays an active role in the excretion process as well. Being approximately six feet in length, this organ forms a major portion of the large intestine and can cause grave consequences if infected or diagnosed for cancer or other ailments. Some of the main symptoms connected with the presence of colorectal cancer are:
Common Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Though there are many known symptoms of colon cancer, they fail to showcase themselves in the earlier stages of the disease. As colon cancer is generally asymptomatic in the preliminary period of their growth, it is important to go through precautionary checks and screenings once you enter your 50s. The symptoms connected with colorectal cancer can be discussed under the heads: Local and systemic
Colon Cancer Symptoms: Local
Constipation and Bowel Movement
Some of the most common local colon cancer symptoms include changes in the pattern and timings of bowel movement. Patients suffering from colon cancer often find themselves visiting the bathroom more/less frequently and passing stools at odd hours. Constipation is a common symptom of colon cancer and leads to the stool getting hard and difficulties in passing the same.
In certain patients, the symptoms of Diarrhea gain prevalence and lead to the stool becoming loose and increasingly watery in nature. There may be alternations in the stool becoming hard and watery and this leads to greater discomfort.
Discoloration in the Stool
As the malignancy advances, the stool may contain certain dark and tarry patches or have traces of black, dark maroon or bright red colorations.
Patients of colon cancer may also find their stool getting thinner and may face difficulties in passing the same. With bowel movements becoming stressful and incomplete, there lingers a discomforting feeling of heaviness in the lower and mid abdomen as well.
Bloating, Cramps, Gas Pains and Discomfort in the Abdomen
The presence of bloating, discomfort and pain in the midsection of the abdomen and gastric pains for a prolonged period of time requires medical attention. If these conditions persist for longer than 2 weeks in a stretch, then it becomes crucial to undergo medical intervention and certain pathological tests.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: Systemic
The systemic colon cancer symptoms typically refer to the signs which produce an effect on the entire body system and require immediate attention and care.
Weight Loss and Loss of Appetite
The urge to eat less and an unexplained loss in weight may point towards an infection or cancerous growth in the colon. If there is a continuous loss in weight without the patient undergoing any harsh dietary regime or indulging in heavy exercises or routines to lose weight, then the condition should be discussed with experts at the earliest.
Nausea, Fatigue and Vomiting
Patients suffering from the symptoms of colon cancer often complain of a nauseas feeling and feel tired easily. With an increase in fatigue levels and vomiting tendency, colon cancer also serves to make the patient feel low and depressed.
Anemia and Jaundice
The symptoms of jaundice and anemia may start appearing in patients. The presence of low levels of iron content in the blood or lower blood cell count can lead to the incidence of anemia. As the condition worsens, the patient may be diagnosed for jaundice, which brings about a yellowish coloration to the skin and makes the eyes look pale and dull.
As the symptoms start appearing, it becomes important to consult a doctor and set up an appointment for blood collections and testing. Colon cancer screening helps in finding out the early signs of development of malignant growth and helps in timely intervention. As the risk of being diagnosed for colorectal cancer increases with age and is also influenced by the eating habits, descent, previous history of colorectal polyps and inflammatory conditions linked with bowel movements of the patient, it also becomes crucial to pay attention to any simple tell tale signs or symptoms.
Colon cancer can be treated if detected on time. Timely diagnosis and screening helps alleviate the signs and symptoms of colon cancer and helps the patient live a longer and healthier life.
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