Symptoms and Signs of Colon Cancer or Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer usually remains unnoticed for some time. Pain usually occurs only when the tumor has reached a certain size and the passage of bowel movements hampered by the intestine, resulting in typical changes of bowel movements. In addition, the tumor is bleeding quite frequently, so blood in the stool may be the indicator of colorectal cancer. Like any cancer the colon tumor also weakens the whole body, so that non-specific symptoms such as inefficiency, unwanted weight loss and possibly slight fever may occur. If the tumor has already spread at an advanced stage in other organs (metastasis), it can further cause discomfort.
If you are experiencing one of the following potential cancer symptoms, does not mean that you really suffer from the disease, but is already reason enough for a colonoscopy. This applies especially to people from the age of 40. Colorectal cancer is extremely rare in younger people.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: Change of bowel movements
Do you suffer alternately with constipation and diarrhea, this may be a result of a narrowing of the intestine, as the chair first dams up in front of the tumor and liquefied below by bacterial decomposition and then a foul-smelling diarrhea is excreted. This alternate change of constipation and diarrhea is also called paradoxical diarrhea. This is a classic warning signs of colon cancer.
Generally any change in bowel habits in people over 40, which last for about three weeks to be clarified by a doctor.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: blood in the stool
A malignant tumor is not as stable as healthy tissue and often bleeds therefore. This blood is excreted in the stool. Three-quarters of people with colon cancer have blood in the stool. This admixture of blood can be seen with the naked eye sometimes. The red blood in the stool appear depending on location of the tumor (if the tumor is localized in the area of the rectum) or the chair is colored pitch black. This dark, pitch black chair is also called melena. It is typical of a hemorrhage in the upper digestive tract (stomach, duodenum). However, tarry stool occurs even if a bleeding source is in the colon.
Some time the blood is not noticeable in chair because it is so small in amount. This invisible blood admixture are also known as occult blood. Occult blood can be detected with specific tests (for example, fecal occult blood test).
Although blood in the stool is an important clue for colon cancer, but it is not only specific cancer signs. This means that blood in the stool may also occur due to other diseases. The most common cause of blood remains on the chair or the toilet paper are hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are unpleasant, but basically mostly harmless vascular cushions around the anus that may bleed during a bowel movement by the pressure. Typically light red blood is a hemorrhoids symptom and superposed the chair. The blood from colorectal cancer is due to bowel movements, usually mixed with the stool. In addition to hemorrhoids, blood in the stool can also due to bleeding orginate from the esophagus, the stomach or duodenum for example with ulcers in these areas.
Colon Cancer Symptoms: deterioration of the general condition
A deterioration of general condition may be a sign of colorectal cancer. This can manifest as:
- Weight lost
- Also fever may indicate a cancer such as colon cancer.
- In addition, particularly in advanced colorectal cancer unintentional weight loss and anemia may occur.
If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis), other symptoms may occur due to colorectal cancer. Often cancer spreads to the liver or the lungs for example, pain in the right upper abdomen, jaundice or elevated liver function noticed in the blood test. Lung metastases can show for example, by shortness of breath or cough.
But cancer can locally continue to grow in the intestines and cause cancer symptoms by damaging the intestinal wall or the surrounding tissue (local spread). For example a large tumor, narrow the intestine so that no bowel movement may happen in the intestine. It can be characterized as in ten percent of cases, a bowel obstruction form a serious complication of cancer.
Cancer causes pain, especially when the tumor reaches a certain size. Small tumors usually cause no pain. Larger tumors can be felt through the abdomen as a roller-like structure and trigger abdominal pain. In which area of the abdomen pain occurs, depends on location of tumor in intestinal portion.
Upon further tumor growth, the tumor can break through the intestinal wall and cause peritonitis. Due to the non-specific cancer symptoms, the disease is still sometimes discovered only at late stage.
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