In most cases, colorectal cancers develop slowly over many years. Because of this slow growth, signs/symptoms of colon cancer may not be noticed until the cancer has spread. Many times
there are no early warning signs of colon cancer.
As the cancer progresses you could notice some of the following signs:
( Please seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms)
"¢ Bleeding from your rectum or blood mixed with your stool
"¢ Anemia (unexplained)
"¢ Fatigue (unexplained)
"¢ Abdominal pain or discomfort (gas pain, frequent bloating )
"¢ Nausea or vomiting (unexplained)
"¢ Weight loss (unexplained)
"¢ Change in frequency or character of stools ( diarrhea/constipation)
"¢ Narrow or ribbon like stools
"¢ Sensation of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement
"¢ Rectal pain
There are also risk factors associated with colon cancer that can be controlled and others that cannot. I will provide a listing of some of these factors.
Risk factors unable to control:
"¢ Older age. About 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.
"¢ Race- African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races.
"¢ Inflammatory intestinal conditions.
"¢ Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk. (Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC))
"¢ Family history of colon cancer and colon polyps.
"¢ Personal history of cancer of the colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium or breast
Risk factors that can be controlled:
"¢ Not eating a diet high in red meat and processed meats
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Yet when found early is highly curable.
I would encourage everyone to speak to your physician about your own personal risk for developing colon cancer.
Guidelines generally recommend colon cancer screenings to begin at age 50.
A colonoscopy procedure will enable the physician to look at the entire colon.
Your physician may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors such as a family history of the disease or any of the risk factors mentioned above.