Colon Cancer Signs and Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of
Although colon cancer can be life-threatening, it is known as one of the curable forms of the disease if it is detected early. Thus, knowledge about colon cancer signs and symptoms can help prevent the disease from advancing and can help a patient minimize the pain and discomfort caused by its symptoms.
Colon Cancer Signs and Symptoms
• Abnormal bowel habits
• Diarrhea, constipation, or an alternating series of both
• The feeling that the bowel is not completely emptied
• Bloody stools
• Narrow stools
• General abdominal discomfort similar to gas pains, bloating, or cramps
• Unexplained and unintended weight loss
• Constant fatigue
Some of these symptoms are not common so they usually cause patients to approach medical professionals. This helps raise the number of cases that get cured in time.
What to Do When Faced with these Symptoms?
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to approach a medical professional in the soonest possible time. Doing so will increase your chances of getting cured. When you approach a doctor with colon cancer signs and symptoms, he will rule out other possible causes of the symptoms first. To arrive at an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will record your medical history and ask you a lot of questions. You will also be asked to undergo a thorough physical examination as well as other tests such as Barium Enema or a lower gastrointestinal series and a colonoscopy. Both tests will give your doctors a closer look at your large intestines and colon to check for abnormalities.
If other possible causes are negative, then your doctor will then check for the presence of cancer cells. This is usually done through a biopsy, or the removal of a small amount of tissue from the colon so that the tissue can be examined for cancer cells.
What to Do When Diagnosed with Colon Cancer?
Once your doctor diagnoses your condition as cancer of the colon, he will provide you with possible treatment options that are most suitable for the degree or severity of your illness. The main types of treatments are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of all three. You will also be given medication to manage colon cancer signs and symptoms. As your illness progresses, these symptoms will also progress in severity. Thus, this makes it even more important to get an early diagnosis of the disease so that treatment can be provided in a timely manner.
When caught early, this disease can be easily treated by the surgical removal of the cancerous growth in the colon. This approach, however, is only possible if the disease is still in its early stage. The surgery is done by inserting a tube through the rectum and into the colon and removing the tumor. If it is found in a polyp, the surgery will be called a polypectomy. If the cancer is in its advanced stages, however, surgical removal will not be enough to remove all of the affected cells, which will already have spread at this point. Thus, early detection, through colon cancer signs and symptoms, is crucial.