Colon Cancer: The Unexpected Signs

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Turning 50.  Time For A Colonoscopy

After age 50, regular screenings for colon cancer are recommended for everyone, but the signs of this dangerous disease don’t always wait until you get a colonoscopy to make themselves known. Your proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, can help you peer inside your colon.  Because recognizing colon cancer early can help you get treatment before the condition becomes a bigger problem, it helps to familiarize yourself with common signs and symptoms like:

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  • Diarrhea, constipation, and other changes in bowel habits
  • Chronic cramps, pain, gas, and abdominal discomfort
  • A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Blood in stool

If you notice issues like these, it’s important to see your colorectal specialist to determine if colon cancer may be the cause. However, these are not the only signs that may point to colon cancer. The disease may also result in lesser-known symptoms like:

  • Changes in stool diameter. In addition to blood in stool, colon cancer may cause changes in stool size and shape. If your stool has become narrow, it could indicate that there is a restriction in your colon due to polyps.
  • Feebleness or lightheadedness. Though colon cancer is far from the only thing that can prompt symptoms like these, they warrant attention if they become chronic or continue to worsen. These symptoms may be related to a lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells caused by slow bleeding. Gradual bleeding may explain why more obvious symptoms are not present.
  • Shortness of breath. This symptom can also be related to slow bleeding, which the body will attempt to compensate for by adding plasma to the blood without creating more red blood cells. Because of this, you won’t lose a great deal of blood, but your blood will be less able to transport oxygen.

Such issues may be cause for concern especially if you have a family history of colon cancer or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It’s important to remember that colon cancer can impact individuals of any age, though it’s more common in older people. If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms like these, undergoing a colonoscopy, regardless of age, is an important measure for protecting your health.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

The board-certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are skilled in colonoscopy and in diagnosing and treating all diseases of the colon, rectum and anus.  By calling (310)273-2310, you can schedule a confidential consultation and help to be sure that your good health will continue.

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