Colon Cancer: Signs and Symptoms
Friday, March 16, 2018
Most of the symptoms of colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer or bowel cancer, can be caused by things that aren’t cancer like hemorrhoids, infection, inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
In most cases, people who exhibit these symptoms don’t have cancer. However, if you suffer from any of the problems listed below, you should visit a doctor so that the cause of the problem can be determined and treated.
In colon cancer, these symptoms mostly appear once cancer has spread or grown. That is why it is important to be screened for colon cancer even before any symptoms appear. Colon cancer that is found with the help of screening can be treated more easily as compared to cancer that has grown. Some colon cancers can be prevented through screening as pre-cancerous growths known as polyps can be found and removed early.
- Changing bowel habits like constipation or diarrhea that lasts longer than usual
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood with stool or dark stools
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Fatigue and weakness
- Weight loss
Screening Can Save Your Life
Since color cancer mostly doesn’t show symptoms in early stage, it is recommended by the American Cancer Society that people, starting from 50 years of age, should be screened regularly for colon cancer. People for whom the disease runs in the family or have other specific risk factors should talk with a doctor about screening at an earlier age. Different tests are used for screening of colon cancer. Talk with a professional physician to find the test that would be best for you.
When found in early stages, the 5-year survival rate of colon cancer is 90%. However, if it spreads the survival rates becomes low.
How Doctors Know if it is Cancer?
If during screening tests, a doctor determines that something is suspicious or there are symptoms that point to colon cancer, you’ll be recommended for further tests and exams to determine the cause.
Your doctor will require your complete medical history as well as family history for checking risk factors and symptoms. One in five people who suffer from colon cancer have a family history of the disease.
Other problems in colon can increase risks as well. This includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hereditary syndrome and pre-cancerous polyps. Type 2 diabetes is also a risk factor.
In a physical examination, the doctor will examine your abdomen and other body parts. Some blood tests will also be required to find if you have colon cancer. Some more tests may also be recommended such as a CT scan or an x-ray of colon. If there is strong suspicion of colon cancer, a colonoscopy will be done and abdominal areas will be biopsied.
If colon cancer is found, treatment will depend on its development stage, but can include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy and other targeted therapies.
If you have a family history of colon cancer or are suffering from any of the symptoms of colon cancer, you should go through a screening test at Colon and Rectal Disease Center so that the doctors can determine the cause and effectively treat your problem.
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