Colon cancer is sometimes dubbed the silent killer because symptoms are typically not present in the early stages of the disease. However, even in cases where early signs are present, they are often overlooked. Colon cancer remains the third-deadliest form of cancer among women in the United States, and ignoring symptoms can prove to be fatal. Here are five warning signs of colon cancer that warrant a trip to the doctor’s office:
Abdominal pain or cramping
Large tumors in the colon can cause blockage, which may result in abdominal pain, tenderness and cramping. Pain that is localized to one specific area of the abdomen and can be reproduced through palpation may be a sign of colon cancer (Source: Today).
Blood in the stool can stem from hemorrhoids or anal fissures, but it can also be a sign of colon cancer. Bright red blood indicates active bleeding, and it may signify a tumor near the end of the colon. Rectal bleeding should never be ignored. Always have these symptoms checked out by a physician to rule out serious illness.
Changes in bowel habits
Bowel habits can change with age, diet, activity levels and fluid intake, but changes that last more than two weeks may be cause for concern. Persistent constipation, diarrhea, narrowing of the stool or changes in stool appearance may be a sign of colon cancer.
Fatigue and lethargy are signs of iron deficiency anemia, which can occur in colon cancer patients due to the small amount of chronic blood loss through the stool. Anemia is diagnosed through a simple blood test, so don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if your energy levels seem out of sorts.
Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss that occurs without any changes in diet or physical activity should be evaluated by your doctor. Tumors can release chemicals that increase the metabolism, resulting in unintended weight loss. Changes in weight may also be attributed to loss of appetite caused by pain from tumors (Source: Newsmax).
Colon cancer is 90 percent treatable when discovered in its early stages, so don’t hesitate in seeking medical attention if you experience symptoms (Source: StopColonCancerNow). Talking to your doctor will provide peace of mind and guarantee that you receive the right treatment.