Colon cancer symptoms and information
Information about colon cancer as well as common symptoms.
Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world. Colorectal cancer causes 655,000 deaths worldwide per year. Many colorectal cancers are thought to arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. These mushroom-like growths are usually benign, but some may develop into cancer over time. The majority of the time, the diagnosis of localized colon cancer is through colonoscopy. Therapy is usually through surgery, which in many cases is followed by chemotherapy.
Colon cancer often causes no symptoms until it has reached a relatively advanced stage. Thus, many organizations recommend periodic screening for the disease with fecal occult blood testing and colonoscopy. When symptoms do occur, they depend on the site of the lesion. Generally speaking, the nearer the lesion is to the anus, the more bowel symptoms there will be, such as:
* Change in bowel habits
o change in frequency (constipation and/or diarrhea),
o change in the quality of stools
o change in consistency of stools
* Bloody stools or rectal bleeding
* Stools with mucus
* Tarry stools (melena) (more likely related to upper gastrointestinal eg stomach or duodenal disease)
* Feeling of incomplete defecation (tenesmus) (usually associated with rectal cancer)
* Reduction in diameter of feces
* Bowel obstruction (rare)