How to Spot Early Symptoms of Colon Cancer

 In Cancer

Colorectal cancer encompasses both colon cancer and rectal cancer, two closely related conditions occurring in the lower digestive tract. Due to their proximity and shared characteristics, they are often discussed together. The colon serves as a reservoir for waste and plays a crucial role in absorbing water and nutrients from food, while the rectum functions to expel waste from the body. Dr. Ashish Gupta USA trained, American board-certified medical oncologist, Chief of Medical Oncology, Unique Hospital Cancer Centre, Dwarka, India, have shared detailed knowledge about the topic.

What are the early Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

In the initial stages of colon cancer, individuals may not experience obvious symptoms, making early detection challenging. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms may manifest, varying based on the size and location of the tumor within the large intestine. These symptoms can initially affect the colon, leading to alterations in bowel habits. As the cancer advances, it may spread, causing systemic symptoms that impact the entire body, such as fatigue and unexplained weight loss. Recognizing potential signs of colon cancer is crucial for timely intervention and treatment.

Some noticeable changes in bowel habits that could indicate colon cancer include:

  • Alteration in the frequency of bowel movements.
  • Persistent constipation, despite dietary adjustments or increased water intake.
  • Changes in stool consistency, including loose or watery stools
  • Presence of blood in stools, either as bright red spots or dark, tar-like stools
  • Rectal bleeding, which may occur during or after bowel movements
  • Abdominal discomfort, bloating, or cramps that are recurrent or persistent
  • A lingering sensation of incomplete bowel emptying, despite evacuation efforts.

What type of Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of colon cancer?

Reducing colon cancer risk involves:

  • Eating diverse fruits, veggies, and whole grains for vital nutrients.
  • Limiting alcohol intake: one drink daily for women, two for men.
  • Quitting smoking, and seeking professional support if needed.
  • Exercising 30 minutes most days, starting slowly if inactive.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise.

Conclusion

Early detection of colon cancer is crucial for effective treatment. Symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, and unexplained weight loss should prompt immediate medical attention. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, can significantly reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. Regular screenings are also recommended, especially for those with a family history or other risk factors.

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