The colon is an important part of the human digestive system, responsible for breaking down food and allowing the body to absorb essential nutrients. Colorectal cancer (also known as Colon Cancer) is a serious type of cancer that develops in colorectal tissues. It’s a deadly disease, and early detection is key to receiving effective treatment and improving chances of survival, so it’s important to be aware of all its symptoms and warning signs.
1. Changes in Bowel Movements: This can include persistent constipation, diarrhea, or loose stools along with changes in stool size, shape, or color. It might also involve greater difficulty than usual during defecation due to an inability to completely empty the bowels, or several bouts of constipation or diarrhea within a short period of time.
2. Abdominal Pain and Discomfort: This can range from mild to severe pain in the abdomen, as well as general bloating or cramping. It may also feel similar to gas pains or indigestion.
3. Unexpected Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss is one of the classic signs of colorectal cancer and it should not be taken lightly; if you find yourself losing a substantial amount of weight without changing your diet or exercise habits then contact your doctor for further investigation.
4. Fatigue: Many colorectal cancer patients experience overall tiredness, which is usually unrelated to any physical activity or exhaustion—a feeling that lasts for an extended period.
5. Changes in Appetite: Many colorectal cancer patients have reported significant changes in their appetite, usually resulting in a decreased interest in eating as well as a general lack of appetite. Anemia can also be an associated symptom due to colorectal cancer bleeding.
6. Nausea and Vomiting: Patients may experience feelings of nausea, which can lead to vomiting depending on the severity of the colorectal cancer case. In some cases, the vomiting may contain traces of blood or even large amounts of bloody material if there is internal bleeding occurring within the gastrointestinal tract.
7. Constipation Alternating with Diarrhea: This symptom involves periods where constipation and diarrhea are alternating with each other, usually for an extended period.
8. Pain in the Rectum or Anus: This may manifest as a feeling of pressure or soreness within the rectal area. In addition, unexplained rectal bleeding might occur which can manifest as bright red blood in the stool or more general rectal bleeding that shows up as streaks on toilet paper after wiping.
9. Bowel Obstruction: If colorectal cancer is severe enough then it can cause a partial or complete obstruction of the bowel, preventing any material from passing through properly and leading to extreme discomfort.
10. General Weakness: Patients may experience overall weakness and body fatigue that has no associated physical activity—this is often one of the more noticeable colorectal cancer symptoms for patients who have yet to be diagnosed.
11. Abnormal Breathing: Colorectal cancer may spread to the lungs or airways, and can cause shortness of breath, frequent coughing, and chest pain.
12. Blood in Stool: Bloody stool is one of the more common colorectal cancer symptoms, usually appearing as streaks on toilet paper after wiping or occasionally with a small amount of bright red blood in the stool itself.
13. Swollen Abdomen: This usually occurs due to colorectal cancer spreading to other areas such as the abdomen, which causes bloating and general abdominal swelling along with discomfort.
14. Unexplained Anemia: Anemia is an associated symptom that may appear due to colorectal cancer-related internal bleeding.
15. Low Iron Levels: This is another symptom associated with colorectal cancer due to the loss of blood that occurs as a result of it.
16. Unusual Lumps in the Abdomen: In some cases, colorectal cancer may cause lumps or masses in the abdomen area which can be felt by touching or pressing down on it.
17. Persistent Coughing or Hoarseness: If colorectal cancer has spread to the lungs then it may result in persistent coughing or hoarseness, and can even lead to pneumonia.
Colon cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening form of cancer, so people must be aware of these symptoms and early warning signs and get an evaluation before it progresses to an advanced stage. Early detection through self-examination is one of the most important steps in preventing colorectal cancer from causing further harm. If any of these symptoms are present, contact your doctor immediately for a professional diagnosis. With the help of modern medical technology colorectal cancer can be detected early on, giving patients a greater chance of survival and successful treatment.