You should always consider these signs or symptoms and see your doctor before it is too late for treatment.
Most Commonly Overlooked Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer
Sometimes a tumor causes a bowel obstruction, which is basically a road block in the colon. Depending on the severity of the blockage, solids, liquids, and even gas may be prevented from passing by.
This leads to abdominal cramps that can be severe, especially if the blockage restricts blood flow to the colon. Painful cramps may also indicate that a tumor has perforated the bowel wall; bowel perforation is a medical emergency.
Similar to unexplained weight loss, cancer cells can cause fatigue as they use up the body’s energy. Sometimes colon cancer can cause fatigue due to internal blood loss from the disease.
In many cases, the symptoms of colon cancer are connected. Other colon cancer symptoms, such as unintentional weight loss and a change in bowel habits, can increase the feeling of weakness.
Fatigue is typically a symptom of an underlying condition. Fatigue is a constant state of weakness and exhaustion with no apparent cause. If you feel what could be fatigue, it’s important to visit your doctor to determine the cause.
A drop in your weight is usually celebrated, but if you don’t have an explanation for a significant amount of weight loss, that could be a little scary.
Unexplained weight loss due to colon cancer may not occur until the cancer is in its advanced stages. One of the other symptoms of colon cancer is diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days. Diarrhea can also cause weight loss.
Abdominal pain is another symptom of colon cancer that may prevent you from eating normally. If you have lost a significant amount of weight accompanied with these symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor immediately to determine the cause.
Irregular Bowel Movements
While it is common for people to experience a change in their bowel habits from time to time, there are some changes that should be evaluated by a physician if they persist. If you notice any of these changes to your bowel habits, take note of when the changes began to occur and any other lifestyle changes may have occurred at the same time. This information will help your physician determine the cause.
Loose stool and diarrhea are common occurrences. The condition can be caused by intolerance to certain foods, medication, stress, or exposure to bacteria (often experienced when traveling). Most people will get at least a mild case of diarrhea several times per year. In most cases, the condition will resolve itself within two to three days. Your health care provider should investigate diarrhea that lasts more than three days.
Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements in a week, and it is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. Having constipation, however, does not mean you have colon cancer. A change in your diet, poor nutritional habits, stress, dehydration or lack of physical activity can also cause constipation. Physicians generally recommend that if you have constipation for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor so a cause can be determined.
Colorectal cancers can often bleed into the digestive tract. While sometimes the blood can be seen in the stool or make it look darker, often the stool looks normal. But over time, the blood loss can build up and can lead to low red blood cell counts (anemia). Sometimes the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test showing a low red blood cell count.
Most of these problems are more often caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, or irritable bowel syndrome. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Reducing Your Risk Of Colorectal Cancer
You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
Stop smoking.Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
Exercise most days of the week.Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Maintain a healthy weight.If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.