6 Subtle Signs of Colon Cancer

Colon, or colorectal cancer, is any cancer involving the large intestine and/or rectum, and can be as painful as that sounds. Unfortunately, it is very common, with almost 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. “In the United States, it remains the second most lethal cancer in men and third most in women,” Amir Masoud, MD, a Yale Medicine gastroenterologist, says.

“While the incidence of colorectal cancer has declined in people over the age of 50—thanks to effective screening programs—we are seeing an uptick in new cases involving younger patients.”

Usually symptoms do not present themselves until colon cancer is in more advanced stages, although a colonoscopy before it starts to cause symptoms can help. “It is therefore imperative that we are aware of the possible warning signs and seek immediate medical attention if any of these are present,” explains Dr. Masoud.

Here are the signs and symptoms of colon cancer you need to look out for.

Unusual BMs

Diarrhea. “Tumors in the right-colon are likely to bleed and cause diarrhea,” explains Dr. Beatriz Amendola of Innovative Cancer Institute in Miami, Fl. She points out that younger patients are more likely to be misdiagnosed for IBS irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Constipation. “As the tumor grows it can cause the diameter of the colon to become smaller and smaller making it harder to pass stool through the colon,” explains Kristina Booth, MD, OU Medicine colorectal surgeon. “This can result in less frequent bowel movements and in some cases narrowing of the stool, too.”

Thin, Bloody Stools. In addition to constipation and diarrhea, any other changes in stools can be a sign of colon cancer. Steven Reisman, MD, Director of New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, specifies that narrow or thin stools or those with blood in them (red or black) are things to look out for. “These symptoms can represent a tumor blocking the colon or bleeding into the colon,” he explains.

Hard Belly Button Lump

If you notice any hardness around your belly button, do not ignore it. “A hard knot at the belly button could be a Sister Mary Joseph node,” explains Dr. Booth. In addition to being a sign of colon cancer, it could also be a sign of another cancer in the abdomen, that has spread outside the colon.

Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Anemia, or a lack of iron, can be a symptom of colon cancer. “This is due to the gradual loss of blood in the stool,” says William Tierney, MD, OU Medicine gastroenterologist. “The bleeding very slow and is not visible in the bowel movement so it is silent but occurs continuously over months to years leading to depletion of the body’s iron stores.”

Unexplained Weight Loss

If you are losing weight and have no explanation for it, it could be a sign of a variety of different cancers—including colon. If you have any other symptoms—especially a change in stools—you shouldn’t ignore the numbers going down on the scale, says Dr. Reisman.

Abdominal Cramping or Pain

If you are feeling discomfort, pain, or cramping in your midsection and it won’t seem to go away, you shouldn’t ignore it. “If this lasts for a significant amount of time (more than a week) or gets progressively worse it may represent a tumor in the colon,” explains Dr. Reisman.

Unexplained Loss of Appetite

While losing your appetite for no explainable reason could be due to so many health issues or cancer, if it is paired with other colon cancer symptoms—especially changes in bowel habits—it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

READ NEXT

12 Shocking Things That Are Damaging Your Body

We all know chain-smoking, eating junk food, and drinking a bottle of wine each night are unhealthy habits. But there are other surprising and subtle things you do everyday that

5 Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Lemon Water

We all know that lemon water has a long list of benefits including preventing dehydration, assisting with digestion, and supporting weight loss. But, like most things in life, you can

6 Unexpected Conditions Linked to Fibromyalgia

About 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia, which is characterized by painful, tender joints along the body; fatigue; sleeplessness; and cognitive issues known as fibro fog. Unfortunately, people with fibromyalgia are

5 Small Signs That Hide Big Health Problems

You’re the only one who knows how you’re feeling. Many times, we brush off headaches or stomach pain thinking that they’re not anything serios. And many times, that’s true. However,

5 Things You Really Should Never Eat

Almost Anything Blueberry-flavored Most of the so-called “blueberries” you find in goods like muffin mixes, cereals, yogurts, granola bars and pancake mixes aren’t dried blueberries at all. They’re made with

10 Warning Signs Your Liver Sends You

Your liver does a lot for your health. As one of the body’s largest organs, it’s responsible for metabolic functions like converting nutrients from your diet so your body can

The Best Vitamins for a Healthy Digestive System

Inefficiencies in the digestion system can cause discomfort in the form of gas, bloating, cramping and other uncomfortable side effects of indigestion. Our body needs essential vitamins to function properly,

6 Conditions That Can Change Your Personality

Unusual or strange behavior is behavior that is not appropriate to the circumstances. It occurs when a person is unnaturally moody, aggressive, euphoric, or mild-tempered. Fluctuations in mood from time

These Are the Worst Hereditary Conditions

We inherit a lot of who we are from our parents and extended family, some good and some bad. Unfortunately, in some cases, serious and potentially debilitating diseases are passed

7 Common Things That Could Trigger Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults—18 percent of the population—every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

RELATED POSTS

Scroll to Top