Colon Cancer – Early Warning Signs And Stages

The colon is one of the final parts of the digestive tract, and its health is imperative for the body to function optimally. At the initial stage, colon cancer starts as a benign clump called polyps, and if it’s diagnosed early on, you can prevent it from turning cancerous. That’s why regular screenings and full-body checkups make all the difference. Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of colon cancer that can easily be overlooked.

The most common signs of colon cancer include:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Pencil-thin stools
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal cramps or bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness

These signs, when experienced individually and for a brief period, can be occurring due to other underlying reasons. Many other conditions cause the same symptoms, so always opt to get screened before drawing any conclusion. However, if these symptoms persist, it’s advisable to consult a doctor or your general physician.

While you watch out for abnormalities and early warning symptoms associated with colon cancer, make a note of the few risk factors that trigger this disease in order to prevent it:

  • Old age
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Inherited syndromes
  • Gene mutations
  • Radiation
  • Past association of colon cancer
  • Being of African-American descent
  • Intestinal discomfort
  • An inactive lifestyle

Fortunately, there are many treatments such as radiation therapy, medicines, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and surgery available to help manage the symptoms and treat colon cancer. However, the course of treatment depends on the stage of colon cancer, which is classified by the extent to which the disease has spread. Keep reading to understand the 4 stages of colon cancer.

The term Stage 0
This is the initial stage of colon cancer, also known as carcinoma situ, when it only affects the lining of the large intestine.

  • Stage 1
    This is the very beginning of colon cancer, where it has expanded from the colon lining to the colon wall, but have not spread outside the organ itself.
  • Stage 2
    In this stage, cancer spreads from the wall to the outer layer of the intestine, putting the other nearby organs at risk.
  • Stage 3
    At this stage, cancer has metastasized to the lymph nodes of the affected area, and chances are it has even spread into the lymph nodes of the adjacent organs.
  • Stage 4
    In this stage, colon cancer has spread further away from its area of origin. Which means it has spread to more than one body part. This type of cancer is known as metastatic colon cancer, and it is likely to have spread to the liver, bones, or lungs.

While it is not very easy to detect the condition at an early stage, being aware of the warning signs and symptoms for colon cancer can help one slow down the condition’s progress and avail the right treatment for it.

Ask Your Questions

Submit a Question You Would Like Us To Answer