Top 10 Signs of Colon Cancer

There is a reason colon cancer is sometimes called “the silent killer.” Not only is it the third most common type of cancer (skin cancers excepting) in the United States today, but given the variance in the symptoms of colon cancer, it can readily masquerade as something other than what it truly is.

Despite ongoing research, scientists still have not confirmed the exact causes of colon cancer. For this reason, prompt diagnosis of colon cancer begins with the knowledge required to recognize early warning signs before the cancer has time to progress. Once an accurate diagnosis has been confirmed, treatments for colon cancer can begin. When it comes to this deadly cancer, which affects an estimated 1 in every 20 Americans, time is of the essence in identifying warning signs, obtaining a firm diagnosis and beginning a course of treatment.

10. Trouble with bowels

Diarrhea, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), narrow stool, constipation, change in consistency of the stool and other bowel-related issues can all act as early messengers of the onset of colon cancer.

Often, individuals later diagnosed with colon cancer will look back and see prior diagnoses that included IBS, colitis, constipation or other issues associated with abnormalities in the bowel.

Andrey Bondarets / Shutterstock.com
Andrey Bondarets / Shutterstock.com

9. Feeling fatigued or weak

Colon cancer is predominantly marked by the appearance of polyps, or tumors, along the colon. Cancerous tumors can cause bleeding into the intestinal area, which can in turn cause anemia.

Loss of blood is often marked by feelings of dizziness, weakness, fatigue, exhaustion and respiratory difficulties. When accompanied by persistent feelings of coldness (even when it is warm outside), pale skin, sleeping more than usual and loss of interest in staying physically active, these can all be signs of the onset of colon cancer.

Creativa Images / Shutterstock.com
Creativa Images / Shutterstock.com

8. Unexplained weight loss

In a culture that often seems literally obsessed with losing weight, when it comes to colon cancer, weight loss is not something to strive for. When there’s a loss of weight or a loss of appetite (or both) that doesn’t seem to be linked to anything definitive, it may be linked to colon cancer.

This is because colon cancer reduces the body’s efficiency at filtering out and eliminating wastes. The backup of waste matter in the body causes a biological slowdown to the appetite. Individuals later diagnosed with colon cancer often report feelings of “fullness” (not unlike what a woman in the later stages of pregnancy might experience), saying they just aren’t hungry for some reason.

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
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