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

6 Early Signs of Liver Damage to Watch Out For

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

15 Signs of Diabetes to Watch Out For

While diabetes is manageable, it can shorten your life considerably. It can also up your risk of things like blindness, heart attack, and even loss of a foot. Check out

Anti-Oxidant Foods for a Healthy, Glowing Skin

  Berries Berries are the richest sources of antioxidants and an ideal food for the radiant and youthful skin. One study found that blueberry, blackberry, and strawberries also contain gallic

8 Foods That Can Cause Constipation 

Being constipated means your bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal. Almost everyone goes through it at some point. Although it’s not usually serious, you’ll feel much

9 Easy Natural Remedies For Headaches

Massage Though relief is temporary, massaging the aching areas will help reduce headache pain. You can try rubbing the temples, neck, back, head, and shoulders to see if the throbbing

5 Strange Reasons You Can’t Sleep

Sometimes the reason you’re tossing and turning at night is clear. Maybe you’re leading a huge meeting the next morning, or you ate a huge meal way too close to

5 Shocking Reasons Your Hair Is Thinning

Losing your hair can change your life in many ways. According to the American Hair Loss Association, around two-thirds of men will begin to lose their hair by age 35.

7 Proven Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, originating in China but widely used throughout Asia, this beverage has a multitude of uses from lowering blood

8 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

According to American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, almost half of Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and can ne

Scroll to Top