Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. In fact, 140,000 people diagnosed with cancer in 2016 were diagnosed with rectal or colon cancer. However, the symptoms of colon cancer are so subtle that the disease itself is not detected until it is too late.
The first 5 symptoms of colon cancer
Abdominal cramping is a symptom of many non-cancerous conditions, which is why it is often overlooked as a symptom of colon cancer. However, don’t panic every time you get a stomach ache.
Severe and prolonged stomach cramps and pain can be the main symptoms of colon cancer, so consult your doctor if it doesn’t seem to go away.
Lack of sleep is common in today’s society, so many people today feel tired for no reason.
However, despite a healthy diet and adequate sleep, persistent fatigue should not be ignored. Colon cancer causes fatigue for two reasons: it uses up the body’s energy and causes blood loss.
- Sudden weight loss
Most cancers cause sudden and unexplained weight loss, including colon cancer. Unexplained weight loss means losing 5% of your total body weight in 6 months.
For example, if you weigh 150 kg and lose 7.5 kg in 6 months, it is considered to be unexplained weight loss.
This means that cancer uses up the body’s energy, and the immune system has to work harder to prevent the disease from spreading. As a result, a person loses weight due to energy expenditure.
In colon cancer, the tumor blocks the colon, affecting bowel movements and causing unexplained weight loss.
- Irregular bowel movements
Many people do not pay attention to bowel movements. Many health conditions that may indicate its appearance, consistency, and timing, including the presence of colon cancer. Colon polyps can turn into tumors that affect bowel movements and colon function, which can show changes in stool.
If the changes are not caused by other diseases, diarrhea, constipation, liquid or loose stools can be symptoms of colon cancer.
- Bloody stools
Most people are embarrassed to talk about this problem, which is one of the reasons that colon cancer often goes undiagnosed.
Sometimes blood in the stool can be too dark to be noticed without a thorough examination. Bloody stools and rectal bleeding may indicate colon or rectal cancer. So, if you notice red blood or reddish water in the toilet bowl after wiping on toilet paper, get checked out.
Reduces the risk of colon cancer
You can make a few lifestyle changes to lower your risk of colon cancer. Here are some of them:
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Avoid red and processed meat.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer, so be active more often.
Smoking can cause several types of cancer, including colon cancer.
Limit your alcohol consumption
Experts at the American Cancer Society believe that excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancer. Limit your alcohol consumption to 2 drinks a day, as excessive drinking can cause colon cancer.
Control your weight
Obese people have a weak immune system and are prone to many diseases such as colon cancer. This increases the number of cases of death due to cancer, because the overweight body is not able to respond and resist properly.