Colon cancer is a cancerous tumor in some portion of the large intestine (colon), which can start with small polyps (benign tumors) inside the colon, which if left unchecked can become malignant.
This type of cancer is considered the third cause of death in the world, so if you are over 50 years old and one or more of the symptoms that we will review in this article, it will be decisive for you to have a colonoscopy.
Symptomatology manifests itself when the disease progressed, another reason to recognize the symptoms of the disease.
1. Change in bowel habits
People begin to change their bowel habits by the mass of the tumor that develops at the level of the colon, which may be partially obstructing it.
The alternation between periods of diarrhea and constipation is usual, with normal moments of variable duration.
People often underestimate these changes, especially periods of diarrhea, attributing them to “viral” causes.
If you have never suffered from constipation and it starts suddenly, it is persistent and severe, it will be a sign that you should consult your doctor. Cancer detection is easy and if done in a timely manner, the results are very favorable.
2. Changes in stool
There is a change in the shape and/or coloration of the stool. These are ejected “tapered”, in reference to the shape of tape they take as a result of tumor obstruction.
“Pencil stools” are also frequent; stool very thin and elongated, much more than usual. Also, changes in the color of the depositions can occur.
It is important that you see inside the toilet after evacuating to know how the stool is and if they have undergone a change or not.
The function of the colon is to absorb water to allow the definitive formation of the excrement. When this is not met, watery stools begin to appear that are confused with diarrhea.
The persistent presence of “diarrhea” should also take you to the doctor.
3. Rectal bleeding
The classic sign is more characteristic. The more “high” the bleeding (the closer to the blind) the more difficult its diagnosis will be since it can be minimal and only detected when examining the stool. It is persistent.
The presence of more profuse bleeding may present as black stools, so you should be alerted.
The lower the location of the tumor, the more obvious the bleeding will become. The closer to the rectum, the redder the blood will be at the time of evacuation.
Bleeding from the presence of hemorrhoids and colon cancer is bright red, but if the person suffers from hemorrhoids for a long time, they can make differentiation more easily.
Tar or too dark stools will be a reason to go to the doctor.
4. Abdominal discomfort
People with colon cancer often suffer from abdominal pain almost every day.
The disease can make you feel full and bloated or as if you had not eaten. You may have pelvic pain, stomach cramps and gas, and belching problems.
Although abdominal pain is a common symptom of non-cancerous conditions such as hemorrhoids, infections and irritable bowel syndrome, which starts recently and becomes intense and persistent, it can be a sign of cancer.
Colic may occur that is not relieved by bowel movements, suggesting that there is an obstruction at the level of the intestinal lumen. Assist the doctor.
5. Nausea and vomiting
Although not all people with colon cancer suffer nausea and vomiting when they manifest they suggest that the tumor is obstructing normal intestinal transit.
In some people, abdominal discomfort is accompanied by the need to vomit, which may or may not cause an attack of vomiting.
In any case, the presence of vomiting would suggest the “high” location of the tumor. The closer you are to the small intestine, the more intense and frequent they will be, being more common in advanced disease.
Remember that nausea and vomiting without other symptoms of colon cancer are an unlikely indication of cancer.
6. Loss of appetite
Patients lose their appetite in a significant number of cases of colon cancer, a phenomenon that medicine still does not fully understand.
Although the loss of appetite is a common symptom in any disease, when it becomes persistent it can be suggestive of the presence of colon cancer.
Pain, cramping and bloating will naturally cause loss of appetite, but if all these symptoms become persistent it will be a sign to go to the doctor for an examination.
7. Weight loss
The weight loss associated with colon cancer can be attributed to several factors, one of them, lack of appetite.
If persistent diarrhea is added to the little desire to eat, there will be another cause that will contribute to losing kilos.
A definitive factor that leads to weight loss is the “fight” that occurs internally between your immune system, the tumor, and its cancer cells.
Unintentional weight loss of 5 or more kilos in less than 6 months will be an urgent reason to assist the doctor to rule out colon or other cancer.
8. Unexplained fatigue
Colon cancer affects energy levels because the immune system is potently activated, which leads to an increase in energy consumption in the body.
If you do not eat enough to compensate for energy expenditure, you will feel weak, lethargic and sleepy.
Fatigue is typically a symptom of an underlying condition, a constant state of weakness and exhaustion without apparent cause.
If exhaustion does not disappear with rest, it could be chronic fatigue and its cause will have to be investigated.
In addition, blood loss from the tumor will lead to anemia, which alone causes fatigue.
Women and men over 50 with Symptoms Of Colon Cancer tend to develop anemia or iron deficiency, a consequence of the disease.
Anemia produces symptoms that include weakness, fatigue, malaise and an inability to exercise.
In very serious cases, heart problems such as palpitations and angina may occur, although these are rare.
A diagnosis of anemia may be the first sign that there is internal bleeding. If you experience any signs such as fatigue, pale skin or dizziness, consult your doctor.
10. Shortness of breath
Some people with colon cancer frequently report shortness of breath. In most cases, it occurs in older adults who also have anemia.
Shortness of breath implies that there is increasing pressure in the cardiovascular system, which in itself is a serious health hazard.
With the minimum persistent bleeding, the organism is conditioning and adapting to the increasingly low levels of hemoglobin, until it reaches a point where it appears the difficulty to make usual minimum efforts (climbing stairs, sweeping, etc.), as they cause lack of severe breath
If you or someone close to you experience several of these symptoms (which are usually added over time) and you are over 50 years old, whether male or female, consult a specialist to rule out colon cancer.
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