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Be Aware of Colon Cancer Symptoms

Be Aware of Colon Cancer Symptoms

Colon cancer can be a tricky disease. This cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States but can often go undetected. How does such a prevalent cancer stay under the radar for so long? There are two major reasons. One reason is that individuals are not scheduling colon screenings when they should. The other reason is that many cases of colon cancer have no symptoms or warning signs.

Get Screened at the Proper Time
Most adults should have an initial colonoscopy at the age of 50. If you have certain risk factors such as family history of colon cancer, history of colon polyps, obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, high-fat diet, IBS or other digestive disorders, you should be screened earlier. African American individuals should be screened at the age of 45. Many people dread the colonoscopy prep or the procedure itself, and they delay having a colonoscopy or refuse to be screened. Colon cancer is treatable when it is found early, but it is life-threatening at more advanced stages. Screening is the best way to diagnose issues with the colon so scheduling a colonoscopy at the proper time is essential.

Know the Symptoms
Many individuals who have been diagnosed with colon cancer have no symptoms until the cancer is in advanced stages. Colon cancer symptoms may be similar to symptoms of other conditions, so it is important to see your doctor right away. A few symptoms of colon cancer are:

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Narrower than normal stools
  • Bloody stool that can be either bright red or very dark
  • Diarrhea, constipation or other bowel changes
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Unexplained anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating, fullness or cramps
  • Vomiting

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or if you have a feeling that “something is not quite right,” talk to your doctor and make an appointment. Adults as young as their mid-30s have been diagnosed with colon cancer, so listen to your body and stay in contact with your doctor. Knowing your family history, choosing regular screenings and knowing the symptoms of colon cancer is your best defense.

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posted on October 25, 2013 in news