Colon cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the inner lining of the large intestine. The early stages of the disease show subtle symptoms that are often overlooked, but its most prominent symptom is unusual changes in bowel habits. Colon cancer is much easier to treat when diagnosed early, as it can affect the liver or the lining of the abdomen in the later stages. Treatment options for colon cancer often include chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy, and medications such as RYBREVANT, Clonoseq, and Qinlock. Here are a few early warning symptoms of colon cancer:
- Blood in stools
Red spots in the stools can be a result of bleeding inside the large intestine and is one of the early warning symptoms of colon cancer. Stools can also appear to be completely bright or dark red, and one should consult a doctor if they notice this, especially if it is persistent and lasts for several weeks.
- Drastic changes in bowel habits
A difference in bowel movements, like an increase in the frequency, can be an early warning symptom of colon cancer. Add to this narrow, thin-as-straws stools or a persistent feeling of incomplete bowel release, and a visit to the doctor is a must. Such drastic changes in bowel habits can be indicative of cancerous developments in the large intestine.
- Weight loss
Losing a lot of weight for no particular reason can also be an early sign of colon cancer. For instance, if an individual loses 12 pounds within half a year without inducing the weight loss, chances are that cancer cells are using the body’s energy to multiply, while the immune system is doing the same to fight its spread. This leads to a drastic drop in weight, and weight loss accompanied by changes in bowel habits can hint at the development of colon cancer.
- Abdominal pain
If one experiences painful cramps or bloating in the abdominal area for a prolonged period, it can be due to the spread of the cancerous cells over the inner lining of the large intestine. The pain occurs because colon cancer significantly impacts bowel movement and causes diarrhea or constipation. Watery stools, along with painful abdominal cramps, are among the most common early warning symptoms of colon cancer.
- Frequent and unexplained fatigue
Blood loss due to bleeding inside the large intestine can leave an individual feeling extremely tired for weeks. When cancer cells eat up a person’s energy supply, it adds to the fatigue they are experiencing. Feeling weak for no reason can indicate Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF), which is persistent and not related to any activity. Sleepiness, an inability to concentrate, and chronic drain of energy, along with changes in bowel movements, can indicate colon cancer. These symptoms have higher chances of being successfully treated if identified early, so it’s best to visit a doctor for further diagnosis if they are noticed.