Monday, January 5, 2009

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Colon Cancer Symptoms

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the United States, around 1000 patients die each day from complications of cancer. Approximately 2.4 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the dreaded disease in 2007. The exact cause of cancer is unknown. It is only characterized by the abnormal cell division and growth. Genetics, exposure to chemicals and lifestyle are just some of the risk factors in cancer.

Colon cancer is a particular cancer in which the primary affected area is the colon. Many studies showed that people with colon cancer are those who have been smoking, drinking excessively, suffers from inflammatory bowel disease and are obese. Regular colon cancer screenings should be accomplished if you are considered to be at risk. This kinds of screenings can help you fight against any kind of colon cancer that might decide to rear its ugly head. It's important to take care of the matter before it becomes too much of a problem.

If you are exhibiting the following colon cancer symptoms, you should be evaluated for colorectal cancer at once.

1. Irregular bowel movements: you could have less or more bowel movements if you have colon cancer. You can even experience constipation more often. This is because the tumor in your colon is already obstructing the regular flow of your bowel.

2. Stomach Cramps- due to bowel obstruction, you will feel stomach cramps and sometimes even bloating. As the tumor grows bigger, it could actually be perforating the bowel wall causing pain and discomfort.

3. Bloody Stool- you might observe bleeding in your bowel. Sometimes the blood will be present in a very small amount and not be noticed. But there are also cases, where the stool is really bloody. A fecal occult blood test can confirm presence of blood in your stool.

4. Unexplained weight loss- one of the classic sign of cancer is weight loss. If you are losing weight even if you are not trying, you should ask your doctor.

5. Fatigue- another colon cancer symptom to look out for is unexplained tiredness. Some experts link this symptom to anemia or iron deficiency. To be sure, you should have your blood checked.

6. Nausea and vomiting- because of the tumor in your colon area, you might feel nauseous and even vomit for no apparent reason.

7. Gassy- obstruction of the colon by a tumor causes air to be trapped.

Diagnosing colon cancer can be done in a number of ways. Your doctor could perform a digital rectal exam to check for abnormal areas in your rectum. Another way is to take endoscopic images of your colon. This is done by inserting a lighted device in you rectum and images are transmitted to a monitor. This is a very accurate test and could also differentiate between a polyp and a tumor growth.

If detected early, colon cancer can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The key is early diagnosis. Chances for survival are higher for people who are diagnosed at the early stages of colon cancer. This is the reason why you should be evaluated or screened by a cancer expert especially if you are exhibiting classic colon cancer symptoms.

By: Sven Ullmann

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