Colon Cancer Symptoms

Guide to Colon Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis

Colon cancer symptoms sometimes are less obvious than you think. It helps to talk to your doctor to find out the truth about your condition before it gets any worse.

Whatever symptoms you have they can be identified and a treatment plan can be devised. First of course you should be screened to determine whether or not you have colon cancer.

After screening your doctor would alert you of the following symptoms:

If it is local cancer…

  • Changes in your bowel habits that are fairly drastic; either more or less frequent than normally
  • Straining or difficulty having a bowel movement (constipation)
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation and diarrhea interchangeably
  • Discolored stools either red or dark red, or black tarry stools
  • Stools only the thickness of a pencil
  • Abdominal discomfort such as bloating, gas, or cramps

If it is systemic cancer…

  • Rather significant weight loss even without trying
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Low red blood cell and/or low iron count (anemia)
  • Yellowish skin color and yellowing of the white part of the eyes

In Case You Notice Symptoms

In the event you notice any of the symptoms above, you should call a doctor right away. Usually you will receive a blood sample screening, and then follow-up tests will be taken.

Usually your doctor will help you prepare for your colon cancer test. For instance, you might take a certain medication to help you clear your intestines of stool so that you get an accurate reading.

The Screening Process

Not always, but oftentimes colon cancer symptoms as mentioned above are recognized upon routine screenings. When the problem is found right away it is less likely to cause worst problems, and the earlier it is found the better off you are.

A routine screening might help in one other way as well. Treatment for colon cancer is made definite if there are polyps or adenomas identified. These growths should be untreated before they turn into cancer.

There are routine screenings for early signs of colon cancer and these usually include one or more of the following: colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, and stool testing.

Each one of these is slightly different, and observes different sections of the colonic and rectal locations. For instance, the sigmoidoscopy only shows the lower part of the colon but the colonoscopy takes you all the way to the end of the colon.