9 Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, with almost 100,000 new cases diagnosed every year. It is also the third most common cause of cancer deaths. Although there are routine screenings intended to catch this disease while it is easily treatable, it is still one of the most feared kinds of cancer. However, there is no need for fear. There are many innovative treatments for this type of cancer, which is why it has excellent survival rates when caught early. In all kinds of cancer, it is crucial that people recognize the symptoms so they can get treatment before the disease has spread.

This kind of cancer begins with polyps, or small growths, in the colon. Over time, the cells in these polyps can gradually change to be cancerous. When this happens, the growths begin to grow out of control. They also may affect the area in other ways, by blocking bowel movement, bleeding, and pressing on nerves. These factors cause many of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer. The following are the top nine signs of colon cancer. If you or a loved one have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately for further testing and evaluation.

1. Abdomen Pain

Pain in the abdomen is one of the most common symptoms of colon cancer. This pain can be dull and feel a great deal like gas or constipation. It may feel like the discomfort is coming from all throughout the abdomen rather than any specific place. Unlike gas pains, however, it does not go away. Instead, it is constant or recurring and gradually worsens. Many people ignore it because there are many non-cancer causes of this type of pain. In addition, the pain feels very mild at first and is not alarming. This is due to the way the nerves in the abdomen work. They usually register pain in the intestines more as discomfort and fullness rather than the sharp pains one would expect from cancer.

There are times when colon cancer can cause sharp pains as well, particularly once it is advanced. If it causes a perforation, or tear, in the intestinal wall, this will cause sharp pains. In addition, people will have sharp abdomen pain if their cancer metastasizes to other parts of the abdomen. Dull pain that does not resolve in a few days should be worked up by your primary care doctor. Sharp abdominal pain should always be assumed to be an emergency, requiring an immediate trip to the hospital.