Early Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Like all diseases colon cancer too causes mental and physical agony for the patient as well as their near and dear ones. To meet this problem at an appropriate stage it is important to be aware of the early warning signs and symptoms of colon cancer, since prompt action will provide relief and help cure the cancer from the roots.
| Friday, April 16, 2010

What is Colon Cancer?

To know about the symptoms of colon cancer it is important to first know about the colon. An important part of the digestive system, the colon plays an important role in the body since it helps in the absorption of water, nutrients and minerals. Apart from this function the colon also helps the body to get rid of waste which it does as stool. This important organ of the body is approximately six feet in length and forms a major portion of the large intestine.

The knowledge of the signs of colon cancer has become an important aspect today since it is the third common cancer in women and men in the U.S. Every year in the U.S there are approximately 110,000 cases of colon cancer. Rectal cancer also forms about 40,000 cases.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer

To begin it is important to note that in the beginning there are no colon cancer symptoms. Like most cancers colon cancer signs are only visible once the cancer has reached the next stage. Here is a list of colon cancer warning signs.

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • A feeling associated with unfinished bowel movement
  • Stools that are narrower that normal
  • Change in habits connected to bowel movement
  • Loss in weight
  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Presence of blood in the stool
  • A feeling that the abdomen is full

If you notice any of the colon cancer symptoms and signs listed above you should consult your doctor who will take a medical history. Once that is done the doctor will collect your blood sample and send it for testing.

Risk Factors of Colon Cancer

As already mentioned above, colon cancer affects a large percentage of the population in the U.S. Of course it is also important to know that despite being life-threatening colon cancer is curable if detected in the early stages. Certain risk factors are also associated with this disease. Each of them are listed below -

  • Exercise and Diet: As with a host of other diseases people who consume a diet rich in fat and lead sedentary life put themselves at risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Age: Despite the fact that this disease affects people of all age groups, people who are above 50 years old are at a higher risk of getting colon cancer.
  • Diseases associated with Bowel Movement: If you or anyone you know has a history of colorectal cancer or other bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis then the risk of colon cancer is greatly increased.
  • Alcohol and Smoking: Research that has been conducted on colon cancer suggests that people who drink and smoke heavily are at a greater risk of getting this cancer.
  • Genetics: Research has brought forward the presence of certain genes that increases the risk of developing colon cancer. Thus if your family tree has a history of relatives suffering from colorectal cancer in a first degree relative who is younger than 60 or two relatives of any age then you too are at a greater risk of getting the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Colon Cancer

Once the doctor has gathered information about your condition from your history, colon cancer symptoms and physical examination, he/ she will recommend one of the various tests associated with this disease in order to gather more evidence about whether you have the disease. Once this factor is established, he/she will conduct more tests to know the stage so that appropriate treatment can be started. The treatment that is followed to treat the colon cancer early symptoms may include chemotherapy or radiation therapy or surgery. Of course there are cases where the treatment for colon cancer symptoms and signs include a combination of both the above.
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