Most people are not aware of colon cancer symptoms. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, but it can be treated and possibly cured if detected early. Colon cancer symptoms are often ignored, which means that many tumors or polyps grow undetected for years.

Because individuals frequently overlook the symptoms of colon cancer, they may believe it’s a minor health problem or they are embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their healthcare provider.

Getting a colon cancer screening has helped lower the overall number of cases. It’s recommended by the American Cancer Society to get the first colon screening by age 45, but the numbers are rising in the younger population. In 2015 The American Association for Cancer Research designated Hampton Roads, Virginia one of the hot spots for colon cancer.

If you have any of these six warning signs, please consult your doctor or one of the gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates of Tidewater.

  1. Change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation

One of the warning signs is changes in your bowel habits like constipation. Also look out for narrow stools, diarrhea or consistency of your stool. 

  1. Rectal bleeding, blood in stool or black stools.

Rectal bleeding is the most prevalent symptom of colon cancer. If you discover blood in your stool, in the toilet bowl, or on the toilet paper, notify your doctor immediately. It’s usually more bleeding than from hemorrhoids and can be bright red or a dark maroon color.

  1. Stomach pain, cramping and bloating that doesn’t go away.

When you experience stomach pain, it’s possible that something is creating a blockage in the colon. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as abdominal bloating.

  1. Unexplained weakness or fatigue for more than a few days.

If you feel tired and weak for more than several days without any explanation, it could be a sign of cancer. When a tumor or polyp develops in the colon, they will bleed and cause iron loss or anemia in the body. This can cause fatigue or weakness.

  1. Unintentional weight loss

If you seem to be eating enough but continue to lose weight, this is a cause for concern for colon cancer or any cancer. Cancer changes the way your body uses food and could prevent nutrients to be absorbed properly.

  1. The urge to have a bowel movement

If you have the urge to have a bowel movement or empty your bowels but no stool passes, this could be caused by a tumor in the rectum.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists.

Although these are signs and symptoms of colon cancer, the best way to prevent the disease is to have a colon cancer screening by age 45. Schedule a screening through Open Access. Eligible patients may be screened over the phone before the colonoscopy. For more information, call (757) 547-0798.

Schedule your colonoscopy today. Do it for yourself and the ones you love.