Understanding Colon Cancer and its Common Warning Signs

Reviewed: July 21, 2016
By eHealthIQ
Understanding Colon Cancer and its Common Warning Signs

The colon is part of the human digestive tract and stretches up to 6 feet. The inner lining of the colon can act a suitable breeding ground for minute tumors, which are commonly referred to as polyps. Colon cancer often develops from the growth of polyps in the intestinal lining’s glandular tissue.

The polyp’s size greatly affects the rate at which colon cancer develops. Generally, polyps whose length is less than one centimeter have a lesser chance of fully developing into a cancer. On the other hand, those that measure more than 2 centimeters stand a greater chance of becoming cancerous.

If the warning signs of colon cancer are detected early, chances of successful treatment are high. This is because the tumor will still be localized and can thus be easily treated. Failure to detect the tumor early gives it time to grow. Normally, undetected cancer spreads quite fast to adjacent lymph nodes, organs and tissues via the bowel wall. It might even spread to the bloodstream.

Common Warning Signs of Colon Cancer

Most colon cancer victims start experiencing symptoms associated with the disorder when it is already too late. This is because not many people take advantage of colon cancer screening services offered at most health facilities. The following are some of the commonest warning signs of colon cancer.

Bathroom Troubles

A huge number of individuals diagnosed with colon cancer experience mysterious digestive problems. These include chronic diarrhea, frequent constipation or passing gas. Some victims have reported pencil stools, which are thinner than normal. The digestive disorders are caused by irritations in the intestinal lining.

General Weakness and Fatigue

Weakness, fatigue and malaise are an early sign of colon cancer. Those who are affected tend to feel abnormally tired, more so after exercises. These symptoms come about as a result of intestinal bleeding, which causes iron deficiency and subsequently, anemia. Low oxygen and sodium levels greatly contribute to the fatigue.

Poor Appetite and Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss is one of the warning signs of colon cancer. Those suffering from the condition feel satisfied quickly. They also tend to rapidly lose appetite. The loss of appetite and inability to eat well is the cause of the drastic weight loss experienced by individuals suffering from colon cancer. Loss of appetite is often caused by the growing tumor, which slows down food digestion.

Having an awareness about the aforementioned signs is of great significance. Early detection determines the success of treatment. Colon cancer can be avoided by avoiding risk factors such as smoking and chewing tobacco.

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