Symptoms of colon cancer

Our digestive system relies a lot on our colon. It helps the body absorb the water, minerals and other nutrients in our body as well as helps rid of the waste in our body.

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It consists mainly of the large intestine which is about 6 feet long with the anal canal and the rectum comprising the last 6 inches of it.

It is not common knowledge as to what causes colon cancer but what is known is that the healthy cells in the colon are altered, meaning, in normal instances the cells divide and grow to keep our body functioning normally. When this growth gets out of control meaning it keeps dividing and forming new cells even when not needed, especially in the color and rectum, this may cause precancerous cells and over time these abnormal cells may turn cancerous and show symptoms of colon cancer.

The symptoms of colon cancer differ with stages. Mostly patients suffering from colon cancer show no symptoms at all and thus the requirement for a cancer screening at the age of 50 is being pushed. However the symptoms of colon cancer come in 2 generalized descriptions.

Local symptoms of colon cancer affects the bowel movement and habits such as diarrhea or constipation, or having both diarrhea and constipation intermittently. Having red blood in the stool, or if it the stool is dark colored or tarry or even black plus, the feeling that you are not emptying your bowels completely or having pencil stools. Sometimes, having a midsection abdominal cramp or bloating, gas pains and discomfort could be a symptom of colon cancer. If these symptoms go on for more than a week be sure to call your doctor.

Systemic colon cancer affects the whole body as in weight loss. Losing weight without trying and rapidly, lack of appetite, being exhausted or fatigued, anemia, jaundice and even nausea and/or vomiting. If these symptoms continue for a few days be sure to make an appointment to see your doctor right away.

Upon your doctor’s visit, besides asking about your medical history, blood testing and follow-up appointments may be done. Be sure to discuss early screening with your doctor and be aware of the symptoms of colon cancer. If you have a family history of colon caner, or any cancer for that matter, be sure to mention this to your doctor and he may want you to have an even earlier screening for any type/s of cancer. As always early detection is key to a good prognosis.

Colon cancer screening is not so much painful as it is mostly embarrassing. Be sure to ask your doctor about what you should do to prepare for any tests or procedures. If you notice any change in your bowel habits and on the stool itself as in blood in the stool or rectal bleeding, chronic stomach pain, discomfort, gas, cramps; exhaustion or fatigue and rapid unexplained weight loss – these could be symptoms of colon cancer. Keep in mind, once again, that there are no symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer. The symptoms of colon cancer vary with the stage, size and location of the cancer in the intestine.

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