Colon cancer symptoms often vary from one person to the next. Some people experience no symptoms or very minimal symptoms, while others may feel ill and notice abnormal physical symptoms for months before finally seeking medical care. While individuals over the age of 50 and those who have a family history of colon cancer face increased odds of developing colon cancer, almost anyone can be diagnosed with colon cancer, even people who are considered low risk. Here are some of the most common symptoms of colon cancer that patients at Regional Cancer Care Associates may experience.
- Changes in bowel habits. Many colon cancer patients report experiencing increased frequency and urgency of bowel movements. Persistent diarrhea and constipation are also common signs. If you experience any unusual bowel movements that worsen over time, be sure to bring it up to your doctor.
- Feeling like you have to go, even after bowel movements. Bowel movements should bring feelings of relief, but if they don’t, it could be indicative of an underlying issue.
- Blood in the stool. One of the major symptoms that prompts many patients to seek medical care is the sudden appearance of blood in the stool.
- Changes in stool appearance. Your stool consistently appears narrower and thinner than you’re used to seeing.
- Unintended weight loss. You’re losing significant amounts of weight, even though you haven’t made any dramatic changes to your diet or exercise routine.
- Chronic fatigue or tiredness. A lot of patients report feeling extremely tired all the time. They tend to attribute the fatigue to stress or other issues, but it could be a sign of colon cancer.
- Unexplained iron deficiency. Sometimes, patients find out something is wrong because of blood work. Their doctor will tell them they’re very anemic. Some symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and loss of energy, among others.
- Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, cramps or other abdominal discomfort. Because the colon is located in your abdomen, it’s common to experience unusual pain and discomfort in that area.
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms could also be the result of another health issue. Always talk to your doctor about any ongoing bowel changes or concerning symptoms. To test for colon cancer, your doctor may suggest a colonoscopy to screen for any abnormalities.
To make an appointment at RCCA, contact your local office today.