Colon cancer or colorectal cancer occurs within the inner wall of the large intestine, which is located in the lower part of your digestive system. Most cases of this type of cancer will start as tiny clumps of benign cells that are called adenomatous polyps, and over time these polyps may gradually turn cancerous. Often, these polyps are generally quite small and don’t produce any signs and symptoms of colon cancer. This is why many doctors recommend regular screening as a way to prevent the disease by identifying polyps early and removing them before they have a chance to become cancerous.
Watching Out for Colon Cancer:
Many of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer are capable of occurring for a range of reasons that aren’t related to cancer at all. For instance, you might suffer from similar symptoms if you are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, or inflammatory bowel disease. In many circumstances, the people who experience these symptoms will not have cancer, but it’s worth contacting a doctor just in case. After all, your doctor can always help you to identify and treat other conditions too.
The most common signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
– A change in general bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing in the stool that lasts for a number of days
– Feeling that you need to have a bowel movement but the issue is not relieved by doing so
– Bleeding in the rectum
– Dark stool or blood that is often present within the stool
– Cramping in the abdomen or stomach pain
– Sudden weight loss
– Fatigue and general weakness
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer, it is important to speak to an expert as quickly as possible to assess your situation. You should also speak to your doctor about when you should begin getting screened for colon cancer. Most guidelines will suggest that your screenings begin at the age of fifty, but your doctor may recommend that you consider the option earlier if you are at risk for the disease.
Colon Cancer Screening Is Crucial:
One important thing to remember about colon cancer is that when this disease generally turns out to be the cause of the symptoms outline above, chances are that the cancer has already spread or grown. This is why it is so important to be tested regularly for colon cancer before you ever begin to suffer from symptoms. Colon cancer that is found through screening is generally much easier to treat, and screening can sometimes prevent colon cancers entirely by removing and finding pre-cancerous growths known as polyps.
Because colon cancer doesn’t generally cause any symptoms until it becomes more advanced, the American Cancer Society regularly suggests screening for people around the age of fifty. However, people with a family history of this disease or those who are exposed to certain risk factors should begin talking with their doctor at an earlier age. Speak to your doctor about what would be best for you and your condition.