Colon cancer often exhibits the same symptoms as other colon conditions. Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, and peptic ulcer disease show the same symptoms of colon cancer: red or dark blood in stools, changes in bowel habits, narrow stools, diarrhea or constipation, unexplainable weight loss, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, and anemia. In order to observe your symptoms better, it is also important to read up on other colon diseases.
The disease can be present for many years before symptoms of colon cancer even show. This is why the best thing to do to watch out for colon cancer is to undergo regular screenings, preferably those that entail fecal blood testing and colonoscopy.
Symptoms of colon cancer vary according to where the tumor is located. Because the right colon is spacious, tumors in the right colon can grow to large sizes before they even cause symptoms of colon cancer. As tumors have a tendency to bleed, cancers on the right colon cause iron deficiency anemia because of the slow, unnoticed loss of blood over a long period of time. It is all the more unnoticeable because the stool travels through the colon longer, so whatever blood is in the stool dries up and even becomes invisible. Iron deficiency anemia, in turn, results in fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath for patients.
On the other hand, the left colon is narrower than the right colon. Cancers of the left colon are more likely to cause partial or complete bowel obstruction. This type of cancer causes the following symptoms of colon cancer: diarrhea, constipation, narrow stools, abdominal pains, cramps, and bloating. If there is bright red blood in the stool, this can also mean that there is a cancerous growth near the end of the left colon or the rectum.
Go and see your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms of colon cancer mentioned above. However, don’t panic just yet. As mentioned, some of the symptoms can be indicative of another colon disease altogether. For example, while blood in your stool may be one of the symptoms of colon cancer, it may also come from hemorrhoids or minor tears in your anus. If you are constipated as a result of not drinking enough water and not taking in sufficient fiber, tough stools may scratch your rectal wall.
Additionally, certain foods, such as beets and red licorice, can cause your stools to turn red, while iron supplements and some anti-diarrhea medications often make stools black. However, it is still a good idea to visit your doctor at any sign of blood or other changes in your stools and bowel movement. After all, early detection based on symptoms of colon cancer usually result in complete cures.
Below is a complete list of the top symptoms of colon cancer. It will do no harm to visit your doctor as soon as you feel two or more of the following:
* Major change in your toilet habits, whether you move your bowels more or less
* Blood in your fecal matter, bright red or dried
* Stools that are thinner than usual
* Unexplainable dramatic weight loss
* Stomach pains, cramping or bloating
* Unexplainable fatigue
* Always feeling like you need to move your bowels
* Constant nausea and vomiting
* Iron deficiency anemia
* Abdominal pain, which is a rare symptom of colon cancer, and may exhibit itself as mere tenderness in the abdomen.