Colon Cancer Symptoms and Complications
Colorectal cancer is a serious malignant tumor that forms in the colon or rectum, the last part of the large intestine. It is very important to detect rectal or colon cancer symptoms earliest possible to avoid complications.
Colorectal cancer is 3rd among the most common cancers in the United States and Canada, both in men than in women. In industrialized countries, one in 14 men and 1 in 15 women are likely to have colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
Although all the causes are not well known, certain habits of life, mainly consuming unhealthy food, play a key role in its onset. This explains why the Japanese, little affected by colorectal cancer in Japan, diagnosed with these cancers as much as their fellow Americans a few years after emigrating to the United States and adopted the American diet. The question now is how to detect early colon cancer symptoms.
Colon cancer Symptoms
Colorectal cancers often develop silently, without causing any particular symptom. This asymptomatic period can last for years. Nevertheless, some signs may be an indicative of the tumor and requires medical consultation.
In both men and women, it is not always easy to diagnose colon cancer the fact the symptoms are not obvious at the beginning. Fortunately, regular screening can greatly help. Vigilance is the best weapon against this type of cancer and its unpleasant complications.
The symptoms can also be caused by many other conditions and are not always an indication of this malignant tumor. For instance, certain digestive disorders have manifestations similar to those of colon cancer symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms will vary depending on the location of the tumor. It is their sudden onset or persistent character that should alert you.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: Digestive Disorders
The first signs indicating the tumor and can alert people to see a medical professional are these following digestive disorders:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent diarrhea;
- Sudden onset constipation that is getting worse;
- Abdomen taking volume abnormally;
- Frequent and constants abdominal pain and disorders:
iii. Abdominal cramps;
iv. Anal pain sometimes;
- Tense or abnormal sensation in the rectum
- Abnormal thin stool (due to a partial blockage of the colon);
- Difficulty defecating, the expulsion of the stool is painful and often ineffective;
- Urge to pass stool (especially in the morning), often associated with incomplete evacuation sensation.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: Bleeding
Rectal bleeding should not be too quickly attributed to hemorrhoids before medical exams. Examinations should be performed to determine the cause. In the case of cancer, the stools are often mixed with blood which can be:
- Bright red if the cancer develops in the descending colon or rectum;
- Dark black or tarry if the tumor affects the ascending colon.
Indeed, colorectal polyps and colon tumors have blood vessels that can release a small amount of blood in the stool. Generally, this blood is not visible to the naked eye and only lab exam, hemoccult test for instance, can detect the trace of blood and, and possibly, the presence of the cancer in the colon.
More rarely, mucous can also be found in the stools which can be viscous or whitish. Sometimes, symptoms of anemia can be present due to blood loss.
Colon cancer complications can lead to fatal outcome. When the symptoms worsen, it is vital to consult an oncologist or go to a nearby emergency center. By spreading, tumors of the colon usually lead to symptoms increasingly severe and painful such that:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes;
- Abnormal enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly);
- Pain in the buttock or hip (if the tumor compresses the sciatic nerve);
- Ascites; accumulation of water in the abdomen, causing abdominal swelling;
- Impairment of the general health status: general fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, and others;
- Intestinal obstruction can also occur if the tumor completely obstructs the bowel and prevents the passage of stool and gas. These two will accumulate and cause violent stomach pains, swollen abdomen, vomiting and total constipation;
- In case of perforation of the colon, you also experience peritonitis: painful infection of the peritoneum, a membrane that lines the abdomen, pelvis and viscera.
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