Colon Cancer Symptoms

by Symptom Advice on May 10, 2011

As many as 1 in 17 people in the United States will develop colon cancer symptoms.  Understanding Colon cancer and knowing what the symptoms are can help you to catch colon cancer earlier before it affects your life.  you can save your life by knowing colon cancer symptoms.

The Colon and its Functions

The organ of the colon is about four feet long.   it twists from your small intestines and ends at your anus.  the main functions of the colon are to digest food and to absorb its nutrients, absorbing liquid and electrolytes and concentrating fecal material, and getting rid of the fecal material.  

The cancerous cells in the colon can grow abnormally fast causing tumors.  these cancerous tumors, adenocarcinomas tumors, in the colon can take oxygen, nutrients and space away from organs in the body.  the colon will suffer without adequate oxygen and nutrients that was stolen by a tumor.

If the cancer in the colon isn’t treated the cancer can spread throughout the colon and affect lymph nodes and other organs.   the Liver, bones, brain and lungs can be affected and become cancerous as well.  the rectum can also be affected, and the tumors are sometimes called colorectal cancer.

Colon cancers are usually caused by adenomatous polyps.  these are abnormal cancerous cells clustered together that covers the lining of the inner wall in the colon.   these clusters of abnormal growths can grow and degenerate the colon.  the adenomatous polyps aren’t cancer, but people with them have a higher risk of getting colon cancer.   another form of colon cancer called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer can run in families.

Having had breast, uterine, ovarian or another form of cancer now or anytime in the past increases the risk of getting colon cancer.  Diseases and habits can also be an indicator of colon cancer.  Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer.  being obese, smoking and drug use can also increase the risk of colon cancer.  People who have polyps in their colon, have certain disease, smoke, take drugs, and are obese or who may inherit colon cancer need to know the different colon cancer symptoms.  

Colon cancer symptoms can present themselves very early on, but many times they are missed or brushed off, or may be confused with another illness.  many of the signs of colon cancer are also symptoms of other illnesses.  But careful observation will help to catch polyps and cancer early on.  

•    Bloody stools

One of the more common colon cancer symptoms is blood in the stool.  Blood in the stool means that the colon lining is bleeding.  Depending on the color of the blood can be a good indicator to where the blood is coming from.  If the blood is brighter red the blood is coming from the end of the colon closer to the rectum.  If the blood is dark brown, black and inky the blood is most likely coming from further up the colon and possibly even the end of the small intestine.  

Often blood in the stool is misinterpreted as hemorrhoids and is brushed off.  Don’t assume that hemorrhoids are something to forget since it can also be an indicator of colon cancer.

Certain foods can make the stool turn red.  Eating beets, red licorice other foods can make it look like there is blood in your stools.  

•    Thin or Stringy Stools

If your stool is consistently thin or if stools are becoming increasingly thin this is a good indication of colon cancer.  the stool can be thinner than a pencil.  Stools can become thin when there is something in the way inside the colon.  A tumor, a large polyp or swollen blood vessels can partially block the colon leading to thin stools.  If the stools are not thin consistently it may not be a sign of colon cancer, but it would be a good to talk to your doctor about it.  

•    Severe Constipation

Constipation is a difficult sign of colon cancer since it can mean so many different things and might not be a serious condition.  But frequent constipation may be a sign that there is something blocking your colon.  Constipation may also appear when the cancer affects how the colon absorbs liquid.  the colon may be over-absorbing causing hard stiff stools and the stools might not go through the colon due to blockage.  

•    Constant urge to go to the bathroom

The constant pressure to empty your bowels is a colon cancer symptom.  Especially if you don’t need to go to the bathroom, your body telling you that you need to is a sign.  This colon cancer symptom might indicate a tumor in your colon.  the tumor can be making your colon feel full, making you feel the pressure that you need to constantly empty your bowels.  the tumor may be large and this is a sign that you need to immediately go see your doctor.

•    Abdominal Pain

Pain in your symptom is a common sign of colon cancer but an overlooked one.  because abdominal pain is very common people often assume that it isn’t anything important.  But the pain can be a result of a tumor blocking gas and feces blocking the exit.  Gas pains can be a sign that the tumor is blocking gas and it is building up in the intestines.  

Other Colon Cancer Symptoms

Constant fatigue can be a sign of losing too much blood in the stool.  the loss of blood will make you tired and sometimes pale.  another symptom is part of your belly sticking out awkwardly; this can be a sign of a tumor that is blocking the colon and feces and gas building up. 

Other colon cancer symptoms include constant nausea and vomiting, weight loss that is unexplained, infrequent bowel movements, inability to empty bowel, and pain in the rectum.

The  colon cancer symptoms may persist for 14 weeks. If you have been noticing any of these symptoms for a long period of time you need to see your doctor.  the sooner you see your doctor then your doctor will be able to diagnose you sooner, relieve you of your colon cancer symptoms and start treatment.

In conclusion, please read about my personal colon cancer symptoms and how I managed to survive colon cancer.

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