Most Common Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer
The following are the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
People who have any of the following symptoms should check with their doctors, especially if they are over 50 years old or have a personal or family history of the disease:
- A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool
- Cramping or gnawing stomach pain
Symptoms Of Colon Cancer
While in many cases, there are no obvious symptoms with colon cancer, there are some that can be warning signs and should be discussed with your physician. These include:
- Any major change in bowel habits
- Blood in the stool that is either bright red, black or tarry
- Unintentional weight loss
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- General abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and/or cramps
- Constant feeling of fatigue or tiredness
- New onset anemia diagnosed on routine lab work
When To See A Doctor
In most cases, digestive symptoms do not indicate cancer. However, if the symptoms are unusual, appear more regularly, or steadily get worse, it is best to see a doctor as there is no other way to diagnose these issues.
Even if the underlying cause is not colon cancer, the doctor may be able to identify and diagnose a separate disorder for which they can recommend treatment.
Many people with colon cancer do not show any early symptoms so experiencing symptoms can be a sign that the cancer is growing or spreading. The
Also Check: Does Prostate Cancer Cause Fatigue
Top Warning Signs Of Colon Cancer
As you approach age 50, its a good idea to start scheduling routine colonoscopies, usually one per decade. However, colonoscopies are infrequent, and a lot can happen in ten years. Therefore, its important that those over age 50 are able to recognize the signs of colon cancer before the illness worsens or metastasizes. To help in this, weve put together some of the top warning signs of colon cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, particularly at first. Someone can have colon cancer or rectal cancer and not know it. That’s why every person should get screened starting at age 45. People at higher risk may need to get checked earlier, according to their risk factors.
When they occur, symptoms may include:
Changing bowel habits
Changing bowel habits may include intermittent or constant diarrhea and/or constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool, or stools that are more narrow than usual.
Persistent abdominal discomfort
Abdominal discomfort may present as cramps, gas, or pain. You may also feel full, bloated, or like your bowel is not completely empty. Nausea and vomiting can also be a symptoms.
Blood in or on your stool is a symptom of rectal cancer and colon cancer. The blood can be bright red, or the stool may be black and tarry or brick red.
Weakness and/or fatigue
Weakness and/or fatigue may be a sign of colorectal cancer. Weakness and/or fatigure may be accompanied by anemia or a low red blood cell count.
Unexplained weight loss
A loss of weight for no known reason should always be investigated. Nausea and/or vomiting are also possible symptoms.
Also Check: Adrenal Fatigue What To Do
How Can I Manage My Stress While I Have Colorectal Cancer
Managing stress can play an important role in combating the fatigue that be an effect of colorectal cancer. Here are some suggestions that may help:
If your stress seems out of control, talk to a health care professional.
Blood In Your Stool Bleeding From The Rectum And/or Change In The Appearance Of The Stool
One of the most disturbing symptoms of colon cancer can be bleeding from the rectum or blood in the toilet. Conditions such as hemorrhoids or fissures can also cause small amounts of blood, so if you notice blood, contact your physician and be sure to explain any other symptoms that you may be experiencing at the same time. A large amount of blood may warrant a visit to the emergency room.
The way that your stool looks can be a good indicator of what is going on inside your body. Small, hard stool is an indicator of constipation. But if you notice one of these other changes, contact your physician.
- Change in Shape. If your stool becomes thin, narrow or ribbon-like this could be an indication of changes inside your colon. Contact your health care provider to have the condition evaluated.
- Change in Color. If you notice blood in the stool, or darkened, or tarry stool this could also be an indication of changes inside the colon. Your physician can help you to determine the cause.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Dry Mouth And Fatigue
Missed Or Delayed Diagnosis
Time is of the essence in any cancer case. The sooner doctors identify the presence of colon cancer, the better your chances of early intervention and proper treatment.
Colon cancer is the third most common kind of cancer, and roughly 60% of colon cancer-related deaths could be prevented had doctors and patients identified the warning signs and intervened sooner.
If your doctor failed to identify the signs of colon cancer, you might have a case. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney from The Mabrey Firm, dont hesitate to give us a call at 814-5098 or send us an email.
Rapid And Unexplainable Weight Loss
Weight loss can be a positive thing, but if its happening without any lifestyle or dietary changes, and at a rather rapid pace, its not healthy and could be another symptom of colon cancer.
Track your weight weekly and note any changes, especially if you havent changed your diet or activity level. Losing weight, in this instance, is not necessarily a good thing!
Also Check: How To Heal Chronic Fatigue
When Should I Call The Doctor
Although cancer-related fatigue is a common and often expected side effect of colorectal cancer and its treatments, you should feel free to mention your concerns to your doctors. There are times when fatigue may be a clue to an underlying medical problem. Other times, there may be treatments to help control some of the causes of fatigue.
Finally, there may be suggestions that are more specific to your situation that would help in combating your fatigue. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know if you have:
- Increased shortness of breath with minimal exertion
- Uncontrolled pain
- Inability to control side effects from treatments
- Uncontrollable anxiety or nervousness
What Causes Fatigue In Colon Cancer
Fatigue is a feeling of weakness and constantly lacking energy. Tiredness should not be confused with fatigue, which is a normal sensation after doing a hectic workout. Unlike fatigue, tiredness is resolved taking a nap or having a good night sleep. Fatigue, on the other hand, is caused by physical or mental stress and is not relieved even after sleeping. It is the deprivation of energy that interferes with the life and does not let the person do daily living activities.
Recommended Reading: Heart Issues That Cause Fatigue
Not Having Any Symptoms At All
Keep in mind, that many people who are diagnosed with colon cancer report having no symptoms prior to their diagnosis. Over 45? Family history of colorectal cancer? Dont wait for symptoms to occur before you get screened. Talk to your physician or primary care provider to get more information about screening options.
Colon Cancer Associated Fatigue:
Colon cancer has an association with fatigue, as it is a common symptom of the disease. Fatigue typically does not resolve after the treatment of cancer. Colon cancer associated fatigue is the most common and troublesome adverse effect of the disease and its treatment.
Fatigue that results from colon cancer cannot be predicted by tumor size or stage of the cancer or the treatment. This fatigue does not result from exertion or physical stress, rather it has a sudden onset. The following can be possible causes for mild to extreme fatigue in colon cancer patients.
- Competition For Nutrients:
Our body is an intricate web of interconnected systems. For the efficient working of body, it needs energy just like fuel to run the machine. Our cells are specialized to produce energy but for that, they need nutrients. These nutrients are supplied by the blood.
A Tumor is an aggregated mass of a large number of cells. For the production and survival of these cells, nutrients are needed. This unnecessary production of cells results in the compromise of nutrients by the normal cells.
With the formation of the tumor, all the cells normal as well as neoplastic, compete for the nutrients requirement. Normal cells get deprived of the nutrients and consequently fail to produce enough energy. As a result, fatigue occurs.
- Nutritional Deficiencies:
- Mental Illness:
- Treatment Of Colon Cancer:
Don’t Miss: What Can Cause Leg Fatigue
Colorectal Cancer Signs And Symptoms
Colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away, but if it does, it may cause one or more of these symptoms:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one
- Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
- Blood in the stool, which might make the stool look dark brown or black
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Colorectal cancers can often bleed into the digestive tract. Sometimes the blood can be seen in the stool or make it look darker, but often the stool looks normal. But over time, the blood loss can build up and can lead to low red blood cell counts . Sometimes the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test showing a low red blood cell count.
Some people may have signs that the cancer has spread to the liver with a large liver felt on exam, jaundice , or trouble breathing from cancer spread to the lungs.
Many of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, or irritable bowel syndrome. Still, if you have any of these problems, its important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed. See Tests to Diagnose Colorectal Cancer.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
While many people have heard that having blood in their stools may be a sign of colon cancer, just about any change in your bowel habits is worth evaluating. While you may be anxious about the possibility of having colon cancer, early diagnosis offers you the best opportunity for successful treatment. There is a possibility that something else entirely is going onsomething less serious than cancer.
Colon Cancer Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
Read Also: Prochef Comfort Anti Fatigue Kitchen Mat
Power Calculation And Data Analysis
We calculated that 600 patients were needed to have 80% power to detect a prevalence ratio of larger than 1.6 or smaller than 0.6, assuming that 40% of the population would suffer from fatigue and an alpha of 0.05.
Demographic, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics are presented as mean and standard deviation for continuous variables with normal distribution, median, and interquartile range for continuous variables without normal distribution or frequency and percentage for categorical variables. Differences in patient characteristics were analyzed using the independent T test or Pearson 2 test .
Restricted cubic spline analyses were used to investigate associations of SMI, SMR, VAT, and SAT with fatigue at all timepoints and to assess whether associations were non-linear. Knots were placed at the 5th, 50th, and 95th percentiles of SMI, SMR, VAT, or SAT. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the associations of SMI, SMR, VAT, and SAT with fatigue were estimated using RCS functions in Cox proportional hazard regression models with a fixed timepoint. PRs were chosen instead of odd ratios since the latter tend to overestimate the size of the association when the outcome is common . Median value for each body composition parameter was set as the reference in each model. As a complement to the graphic presentation of the RCS graphs, PRs with 95% confidence intervals for specific SMI, SMR, VAT, and SAT values were calculated using the RCS analyses.
Cancer Survival In Men
While screening is an important tool in finding colon cancer early, many adults in the U.S. do not receive any screening. Almost 30% of adults have never been screened for colon cancer using any approved test.
Not having any health insurance or a regular health care provider are major reasons why people do not have their recommended screening tests. Men, people who live outside of urban areas, and people of Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaska Native heritage were also more likely to not undergo screening.
Screening methods for colon cancer include stool tests, specialized X-rays, computed tomography , and endoscopy tests such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Only a colonoscopy offers the chance to see the entire length of the colon and to remove any polyps.
Men are less likely to be aware of the need for screening for cancer than are women. Men are more likely to go through with a colonoscopy than women are, but this only occurs when one is offered to them by their health care provider.
Further complicating the issue of early diagnosis is that men, in general, tend to be less aware of the symptoms of cancer. Studies show that men have more trouble recalling signs and symptoms related to their bowel and bladder habits. However, when men recognize that they are experiencing symptoms that require care, they are just as likely as women to seek it.
Also Check: Latest News On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Colon Cancer Facts Specific To Women
The progression and development of colon cancer differ between the sexes. A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology discussed the gender-specific differences in colorectal cancer risk. They highlighted the following differences:
- Female patients over 65 years old have higher mortality rates and lower 5-year survival rates than male patients of the same age
- Female patients have a higher risk of developing right-sided colon cancer than men
- Since women possess longer transverse colon that men, colonoscopies pose a lower detection rate because of this biological difference
- The risk of developing proximal large polyps increased with age, race and sex
How Does Exercise Impact Energy Level
Decreased physical activity, which may be the result of colorectal cancer or its treatment, can lead to tiredness and lack of energy. Scientists have found that even healthy athletes forced to spend extended periods in bed or sitting in chairs develop feelings of anxiety, depression, weakness, fatigue, and nausea.
Regular, moderate exercise can decrease these feelings, help you stay active, and increase your energy. Even during cancer therapy, it is often possible to continue exercising. Exercise also improves the outcome of patients with colorectal cancer.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- A good exercise program starts slowly, allowing your body time to adjust.
- Keep a regular exercise schedule. Exercise at least 3 times a week.
- The right kind of exercise never makes you feel sore, stiff, or exhausted. If you experience soreness, stiffness, exhaustion, or feel out of breath as a result of your exercise, you are overdoing it.
- Most exercises are safe, as long as you exercise with caution and don’t overdo it. The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, and low impact aerobics . These activities carry little risk of injury and benefit your entire body.
Recommended Reading: Can Kidney Disease Cause Fatigue
Colon Cancer And White Blood Cell Count
White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and are easily detectable in blood tests. A specific type of white blood cell called the neutrophil is responsible for warding off infections and destroying harmful cells.
The normal neutrophil count is 1,000/1 microliter. A deficiency in neutrophils is called neutropenia. This is caused by severe infections that are too invasive.
On the other hand, neutrophil production can also be stalled by the presence of cancer. Cancer treatments can also affect neutrophil count due to radiation exposure. Keeping track of your neutrophil count can help you understand how your body works.
What Can You Do About The Colon Cancer Associated Fatigue
Colon cancer associated fatigue poses great challenges to keep up the pace of life. The best way to combat fatigue, is to resolve the underlying causative factors. However, in many cases, it is difficult to isolate or determine the specific cause. Many times there are multiple factors contributing to fatigue. There are some general steps you can take to feel better and cope up with life
- Conserve Energy:
The most effective step you can take is to access your fatigue and conserve the energy that your body is able to produce. First, identify the factors that aggravate your fatigue like specific tasks, body postures or time of the day. Also, identify what makes it better. Then, try to avoid the aggravating factors or substitute alternative tasks or postures.
To conserve energy, the most efficient way is to organize your work. It can be done by arranging the items easy to reach, using long handled tools or storing the items lower to reduce tripping. The other way to conserve energy is to take frequent rest breaks. Maintain a balance between the periods of work and rest. Take rest before you get fatigued rest periods should be short and frequent. You can also delegate the tasks if needed while doing the important tasks by yourself.
- Meet Nutritional Demand:
- Use Proper Body Mechanics:
- Pace Yourself:
Read Also: What Does Hypothyroid Fatigue Feel Like