If you haven’t had or are planning to have your first colonoscopy, it’s already too late. You need to make it a priority as soon as possible. Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, is the third most common cancer among men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. It is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and most occur in people over the age of 50.
Colorectal cancer death rates have been slowly declining over the past few years. This alone will motivate you to schedule a colonoscopy. Also, watch out for these common colon cancer symptoms along with regular screenings.
Change bowel habits
One of the first symptoms of colon cancer is often a change in the bowel pattern. If you have unusual diarrhea, constipation, or loose stools that last more than a few days, you should see your doctor. Bowel changes may be normal, but if they persist, they may be a sign of a more serious problem and should be ruled out.
Dark brown or black stools
If your stool is darker than normal, it usually indicates rectal or colon bleeding. Sometimes it becomes bright red and very noticeable, sometimes the stool becomes darker. This is a major red flag for colon cancer. Of course, there are other causes of blood in the stool, such as hemorrhoids, but if you notice dark or red blood in the stool, see your doctor right away.
elderly with symptoms of colon cancer and abdominal pain
We all experience bloating and unpleasant gas from time to time. However, if you experience chronic pain such as bloating, cramping, gas or severe abdominal pain, it could be a sign of colon cancer. This symptom usually appears in the late stages of cancer, so it should not be ignored.
Unexplained weight loss
Who doesn’t want to lose weight, right? If we could magically lose weight, we’d all be happy. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true, and weight loss for no apparent reason is often a wake-up call that something is wrong. Colon cancer and other types of cancer can cause unexplained weight loss, so you should see your doctor.
Fatigue and weakness
Don’t confuse tiredness with fatigue. If you’re tired, a good night’s rest can help fix that, but being tired is another matter. Yes, if you’re tired, you may feel tired, but it’s a debilitating, stale tiredness. Cancer-related fatigue saps your energy and makes you feel heavy and weak. Just getting up and doing small tasks feels like an obstacle. If you’re experiencing fatigue, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to rule out possible causes related to colon cancer or another serious illness. Fatigue is not normal.
Colon cancer risk factors should be avoided
Early detection of these symptoms is the best way to catch and successfully treat colon cancer. If detected early, the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. In order to control these symptoms of colon cancer, it is important to consider potential risk factors.
Of course, there are risk factors you can’t control, such as your age and family history, but there are a few things you can control, including:
Drinks a lot
Eating a diet high in processed meats
Colon cancer risk increases with age, so it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eliminate risk factors that are within your control.
Schedule your colon screening today!
If you have any of the symptoms of colon cancer listed above, see your doctor right away. Regular colon exams are important when colon cancer can be detected and treated at an early stage.
Many of these symptoms can be ignored and dismissed as something else or nothing, but they should never be ignored. There is no need to wait for an appointment with your doctor as the symptoms become more common as the disease progresses.
Talk to your doctor about how often to check up. He or she will make recommendations about your risk factors and family history of colon cancer, as well as other types of cancer. Take precautions to keep your body healthy and cancer-free.