Colorectal or colon cancer (CRC) is a disease where the cells in the colon or rectum grow uncontrollably. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer. Fortunately, it can be cured when detected early. Screening tests can detect the initial stages of CRC, and particular symptoms can show early signs.
Read on to learn what doctors advise are the most prominent early warning signs of colon cancer.
Rectal Bleeding or Bloody Stools
When cancer has eroded the blood vessels in the lining of the rectum or colon, blood in the stool or rectal bleeding occurs. Hemorrhoids can also cause bloody stools, but in this case, the blood usually coats the stool rather than mixing throughout.
Constipation and Diarrhea
An alternation of constipation and diarrhea may occur due to a tumor obstructing the normal passage of stool via the colon or rectum.
Stool Caliber Changes
A change in stool caliber, like narrower stools, for instance, can be a symptom of CRC. This may also happen when a tumor partially blocks the colon or rectum, forcing the stool through a narrowing. However, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also cause thin stool, so reach out to your doctor if there is a persistent and significant difference in your stools for more than three days.
A feeling of bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, or incomplete bowel movement could also be caused by a CRC tumor.
Weakness or fatigue is also a common cancer symptom, especially if combined with other persistent issues.
Time to Contact Your Doctor
Some of the symptoms discussed here are also caused by non-cancerous conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or hemorrhoids. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms that you’re concerned about for more than a few weeks, it’s advisable to seek medical attention.