Colorectal cancer is the third most popular cancer type in the U.S. In fact, 140,000 of the people diagnosed with cancer in 2016 were diagnosed with either rectal or colon cancer. However, due to the fact that the indications of colorectal cancer is very subtle, the disease itself often goes undetected until it`s too late.
5 UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS OF COLON CANCER
Abdominal cramps are one of the symptoms that most people fail to notice as they can be associated with many other conditions which have nothing to do with cancer. However, this doesn’t mean that any stomach pain is alarming.
Still, if you experience intense and persistent stomach cramps which are not linked to any other condition, seek medical attention and get checked.
Fatigue is also often overlooked as it seems harmless and less serious. In fact, many people feel fatigue on a regular basis, mainly due to lack of sleep.
However, a constant fatigue which is not a result of lack of sleep or malnutrition shouldn’t be taken for granted. Cancer cells cause fatigue due to the fact that they utilize body`s energy or cause blood loss.
3. SUDDEN WEIGHT LOSS
Sudden and unexplained weight loss is often resulting from cancer, including colon cancer. The term “unexplained weight loss” refers to unintentional loss of 5 percent of your body weight over the course of 6 months.
For instance,, if a person`s weight is 150 pounds and he loses 7 and ½ pounds within 6 months, this is considered as “unexplained weight loss”.
This happens due to the fact that cancer cells utilize body`s energy and the immune system is forced to work harder in order to prevent the disease from spreading. Naturally, this use of energy leads to weight loss.
4. IRREGULAR BOWEL MOVEMENTS
People often overlook their bowel movements, despite the fact that the appearance, consistency, and timing of these movements tells a lot about one`s internal health.
Colon polyps are small bunches of cells which eventually become cancerous, and once they do, they start to affect the bowel movements. They may affect the function of you large intestine, which is manifested by changes in the stool.
Generally, loose, watery stools, constipation or diarrhea are considered as symptoms of colorectal cancer, as long as they are not indicative of other condition.
5. BLOODY STOOL
Most people feel too embarrassed to talk about this issue, which is one of the reasons why colon cancer often goes undetected.
Sometimes the blood in the stool may become too dark to notice, unless it is fully examined. Both bloody stool and bleeding from the rectum may be indicative to colon and rectal cancer. So, if you notice red blood on the toilet paper after wiping or reddish water in the toilet bowel, get checked.
LOWERING YOUR RISK OF COLORECTAL CANCER
1. EAT YOUR FRUITS, VEGGIES AND GRAINS
The consumption of fruits, veggies, and whole grains has been associated with lower risk of developing colon cancer while the consumption of processed meat has been linked to an increased risk of this disease.
2. EXERCISE ON A REGULAR BASIS
Exercising on a regular basis and staying physically active has been linked to a reduced risk of developing colon cancer while being physically active increases the risk.
Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of many cancer types, including colon cancer.
4. DON’T BE OVERWEIGHT
Besides increasing your risk of developing colon cancer, obesity also increases the risk of dying from it. This is due to the fact that being obese weakens the body and makes it less able to fight off the disease.
5. LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE
Last but not least, excessive alcohol intake has been associated with increased risk of developing colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, you should limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks daily.