Your body is very complex – how your body normally functions and how it’s organized is very important. Out of the trillions of complex functions executed by the body, one is survival through communication.
There are numerous ways by which your body directly communicates with you. The only thing you have to focus on is to understand what it says and respond to it.
For instance, when you accidentally touch a hot pan, you experience pain. The elicited pain that makes you withdraw your hand is such a blessing. Without this unique way of your body to communicate with you, your tissues could experience extensive damage. It is not only the pain that saves you from big disasters, our body shows various signs and symptoms providing a warning that there is something malfunctioning in the body. You need to focus on the clues your body gives as early as possible and consult a doctor, in the case you find something suspicious.
Importance Of Identifying The Common Symptoms Of Colon Cancer:
Colon cancer is a prevalent ailment, being the third most common disease in United States. Due to early screening and better treatment methods, survival chances are greatly increased. The importance of identifying the symptoms of colon cancer, as early as possible, is related to the direct relation of complications of treatment to the advancement of disease. Treatment is effective and survival chances increase if the cancer is low stage.
Generally, in low stage cancer, when the disease has not been advanced yet, the prognosis is much better. Early diagnosis, through self-identification helps with early intervention. Luckily, cancer in early stages has a much better prognosis.
On the other hand, when cancer has progressed to a high level as in high stage cancer, the treatment can be ineffective. This is because in high stage cancer, metastasis of cancer occurs, which is basically the spread of cancer to multiple organs. The cancer cells come through blood or lymph circulation and also affects lymph nodes. Therefore, local treatment is not effective to eliminate the disease. The last stage of cancer can be treated, but not cured. Therefore, the aim of treatment is to extend the life and improve its quality. (To know more about stages of cancer and corresponding survival rates, click here hyperlink of colon cancer survival). Please consult your primary doctor or oncologist with any questions.
Common Signs And Symptoms Associated With Colon Cancer:
Showing signs and symptoms, as mentioned earlier, is your body’s unique way of communication. It is not necessary that every symptom be present for colon cancer to be existent.
The common signs and symptoms related to cancer only give you a better understanding and they should be monitored as anticipation of advancement. However, for accurate diagnosis, seek medical attention.
- Bleeding In Stool:
One of the noticeable symptoms of colon cancer is bleeding. Often tumors cause a little bleeding. Bleeding is the most alarming sign associated with cancer. The blood can either be in or around the stool. The colour of blood varies as well. Mostly, it is of bright red colour that indicates the tumor is near the end of the intestine.
It is not only cancer that causes bleeding in the digestive tract, but also some other conditions like ulcerative colitis, and hemorrhoids etc. Regardless, if you find blood in your stool, contact your doctor to rule out any serious condition.
- Changes In Bowel Habits:
Most of the time, we don’t take constipation or diarrhea as serious conditions. These, apparently less severe conditions, can be part of a very concerning condition such as colon cancer. If the abnormalities in the bowel habits persist for prolonged durations, there is an immediate need of medical checkup.
- Unsatisfying Urge To Empty Bowel:
Another symptom of colon cancer is the continuous urge to have the bowel movement. This feeling is abnormal when it doesn’t subside even after a bowel movement. Or it can occur like having a feeling to produce a bowel movement, but not being able to. This is also known as tenesmus.
- Abdominal Bloating:
Tumors can cause a tear or blockage that causes pain and cramping. The resulting abdominal discomfort can be dull or sharp, depending on the extent of destruction. The other symptoms caused by abdominal disturbance are vomiting, nausea and abdominal distention.
Oftentimes anemia is the first sign of colon cancer that is identified in blood work. Anemia is a condition in which red blood cells get deficient and consequently causes oxygen shortage. Due to bleeding, and sometimes the formation of blood clots, red blood cell count decreases. As the body’s energy system gets disrupted, fatigue occurs. Fatigue is another common symptom that is often noticed.
- Weight Loss:
Unexplained loss of appetite and weight loss is one of the many symptoms associated with colon cancer. The answer to why cancer, including colon cancer, cause weight loss is pretty logical. As you know, a tumor is a mass of aggregated cells. These abnormal cells divide and grow rapidly and are in greater number. For their survival, they need nutrients and oxygen to produce energy, which in turn is delivered by blood supply.
Additionally tumors release chemicals that increase metabolism. This supplementary requirement of nutrients by tumors compromises the normal blood supply to the body tissues. This inadequate supply of blood and increased metabolism results in noticeable weight loss.
Jaundice is a late symptom associated with colon cancer. Basically jaundice is the yellowing of skin and the whites of the eye. It occurs when colon cancer metastasizes to the liver in high stage cancer.
Screening For Colon Cancer:
The symptoms of colon cancer do not normally become apparent in the early course of the disease. By the time symptoms appear, it is already late and the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Sometimes, the disease strikes without any symptoms.
Therefore, screening for the disease is very important. Screening differs from medical diagnosis. In a screening, you are thoroughly checked prior to having the disease or knowing the fact that you already have the suffering, while diagnosis is done after you identify any abnormality in you and visit the doctor with a complaint.
As age is a strong risk factor for colon cancer, people older than age 50 should be regularly screened for the disease. Also people with a positive family history of colon cancer should talk to their doctor for screening at a younger age.
Prevention Is Key:
There is no way to completely prevent colon cancer. Yet, with the better understanding of cancer, you can considerably reduce the risks of having this disease. The following are risk factors that increase the chances of colon cancer. Try to avoid these risk factors.
- Being overweight is a strong risk factor for the colon cancer. Therefore, reduce your weight to ideal measures.
- Physical inactivity is another risk factor associated with colon cancer. Exercise is found to considerably decrease the incidence of this disease.
- Diet is another factor that plays an important role for the prevention of colon cancer. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetable and have a high fibrous diet. Try to avoid cholesterol rich food and red meat.
- Alcohol is also related to directly increasing the chances of colon cancer. This positive association is quite apparent in males.
Colon cancer is really common disease. As with every cancer, early detection leads to better outcomes of the intended treatment. Same is the case with colon cancer. Regular screening should be done above the age of 50, as well as young people with a positive family history. Seek guidance from your primary physician or gastroenterologist.