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Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer that can’t be Overlooked

Colorectal cancer occurs when healthy cells within the colon develop mutations in their DNA. The disease is often diagnosed when it has advanced because of misinterpretation or ignorance of certain signs and symptoms. The lumen of the colon is also wide and may take longer to cause any obstructive symptoms.

In its early stages, colon cancer does not show symptoms until later when the tumor has grown in size. Signs will show up depending on the size and location of the tumor in the large intestine.

Colon cancer affects older adults the most, although it can occur at any age. Small polyps may or may not produce symptoms. That is why it is recommended to get screened to prevent the disease or identify and treat it early.

Here are symptoms of colon cancer you shouldn’t ignore;

  • A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or change in stool consistency.
  • Hematochezia (blood in stool)
  • Malena (passing dark-colored stool)
  • Felling pain, gas, cramps in the abdomen
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling incomplete evacuation even after passing stool
  • Distension of the abdomen due to intestinal obstruction

The few known risk factors for colorectal cancer include age, race, personal, or family history of the disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and inherited syndromes. Other dietary risk factors include a high-fat diet, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, alcohol consumption, smoking, and exposure to radiation therapy.

Individuals at average risk for the disease should start screening at age 50. Those at high risk, such as family history and African Americans, should get screened earlier. Your doctor will assist you in deciding the best screening method for your case.

Some healthy lifestyle choices like consuming a diet full of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Regular exercise, stopping smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation is also recommended.

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