Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. Only in 2016, nearly 140,000 people have been diagnosed with some type of colorectal cancer. What makes this cancer deadly is the fact that most people detect it in its later stages when treatment is more difficult. One of the reasons why colorectal cancers are often overlooked until it’s too late is the fact that the symptoms they produce are very subtle and easily mistaken for some less serious ailment.
Here we provide the most common warning signs of colorectal cancer that people normally ignore. Noticing these signs early is crucial for early detection, thus successful treatment.
One of the first overlooked symptoms of colorectal cancer is cramping in the abdominal area. What makes this sign so easily ignored is that abdominal cramps are often linked to many other, non-cancerous conditions. While it’s true that abdominal cramps are not always a red alert, if you are experiencing intense and long-lasting stomach cramps that don’t go away, especially if accompanied with other colorectal cancer symptoms, don’t hesitate to discuss the issue with a doctor.
Another commonly disregarded symptom of colorectal cancer is fatigue. As chronic fatigue is so common these days, it’s no wonder this symptom is often regarded as insignificant. Lack of sleep, hectic lifestyle and sleep deprivation are the most common causes that lead to tiredness.
However, if your fatigue doesn’t go away even when you have enough rest, it’s shouldn’t be ignored. Even more, if it’s accompanied with other symptoms of colorectal cancer, it’s a serious warning sign. The thing is cancer cells use the body’s energy thus causing fatigue. In addition, colon cancer can trigger rectal bleeding, which is another cause of fatigue.
Sudden Weight Loss
Sudden and unintentional weight loss of more than 5% of your body mass in a couple of months is a serious warning sign that should never be ignored. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, losing more than 7 pounds without changing your dietary regimen is a red alert to consult a doctor.
As we already mentioned, cancer cells use a lot of the body’s energy while the immune system strives hard to stop the disease from metastasizing. It’s this excessive expenditure of energy that causes such drastic weight loss.
In the case of colorectal cancers, a large tumor can block the colon thus affecting a person’s bowel movements and causing loss of appetite and radical weight loss.
Irregular Bowel Movements
Modern life is generally quite hectic. People are always time-bound, which leaves them with very little time for themselves. This also means that people fail to pay enough attention to their bowel movements. However, the frequency, consistency and appearance of these movements can say a lot about your health, and even indicate the presence of colorectal cancer.
A lot of people are affected with colon polyps, which are small clusters of cells that can become cancerous over time. When these polyps become tumors, they start affecting bowel movements. The changes in your stool are a serious sign that seeks urgent medical attention because colon tumors affect the function of the large intestine.