Early Signs Of Colon Cancer And How Screening Detects It

Colorectal cancer can cause problems throughout your body, especially the digestive system. You may experience symptoms before you receive a diagnosis. While many people can go years before they notice anything, some have symptoms right away. Continue reading to learn more about how colon cancer can affect your body and the importance of colon cancer screening.

How Colon Cancer Affects the Body

Colon cancer, like its name says, affects the colon. The colon comprises the lower part of your digestive system. Its more common name is the large intestine. Colon cancer frequently starts as abnormal growth or polyps on the intestinal wall. Not all polyps, however, can lead to colon cancer. Polyps are very common in middle-aged and older adults.

If the cancer spreads, it can cause problems with other organs or make you feel ill and weak. For example, many people also experience iron-deficient anemia. This issue contributes to tiredness and shortness of breath.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

In the very earliest stages, colon cancer may present little or no symptoms. Usually, early symptoms are most pronounced as changes in the digestive system. For example, you may have some of the following symptoms.

  • Blood in the stool
  • Bloating
  • Narrow or unusual-looking stool
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss

Ways Your Doctor Screens For Colon Cancer

Colon cancer screening is the best way to check for and diagnose colon cancer. Your doctor can check for colon cancer in two ways. The traditional way is through a colonoscopy. This procedure involves using a camera attached to a tube to examine your colon through your anus. Traditional screenings can detect and remove polyps at the same time. The doctor examines the polyps to determine if you have cancer.

Another way your doctor may check for colon cancer is through a fecal test. You provide a stool sample, and the doctor analyzes it for hidden blood. This procedure is not recommended if you have a family history or other risk factors for colon cancer. Your doctor can add a blood test for cancer markers. This test is less common and not as accurate as traditional tests.

If you experience digestive problems or any of the common signs of colon cancer, it doesn't mean you have the disease. However, some of the symptoms are concerning, no matter if it's cancer or not. If you are at the recommended colon cancer screening age, and you are having issues in that part of your body, see your doctor. You may not have cancer, but if you do, the earlier the screening, the better. Contact a medical facility for more information regarding colon cancer screening.