When localized to the bowel and detected early, colorectal cancer is often a curable disease. Knowing what to look out for is a crucial step to knowing if you’re at risk. Some are more suspectable to this form of cancer than others, and since early detection is key, it’s important to know the warning signs of colorectal cancer.
Who’s at Risk?
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third-most diagnosed cancer in the United States. Overall risk has dropped since the mid-1980s due to more people being screened for the disease. Although this is great news, many are still at risk.
Those with a family history of the disease have a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer than those without it. While genetics are a factor, anyone can be at risk. Researchers believe that poor diet and lack of exercise can play a role, and smokers also have an increased risk. Those who consume a lot of processed red meat have a higher tendency to develop the disease.
Signs of Colorectal Cancer
There are several warning signs that you could have colorectal cancer. If you have one or more of the following issues, you’ll want to consult a doctor.
- A change in bowel habits – Constipation or diarrhea along with narrow stools could be a sign of the disease.
- Rectal bleeding – Blood in the stool is a common symptom of colorectal cancer.
- Abdominal pain – Pain in the abdominal area accompanied by cramping, gas, and unusual bloating could be a warning sign.
Listen to Your Body
Early detection is the key to surviving colorectal cancer. For those with a family history of the disease, frequent screenings are of the utmost importance. If you experience a change in bowel habits along with narrow and bloody stools, it’s recommended that you speak to your primary care physician about scheduling a screening.