Colon cancer, which begins in a portion of the large intestine called the colon, affects many in our country. It is life-threatening and can spread to other body parts, such as the liver and lungs, if not detected and treated. Like most health disorders, colon cancer has a few early signs that help individuals identify it in its initial stages. One must visit a doctor for a diagnosis as soon as they experience these symptoms.
Colon cancer often leads to bleeding in the large intestine without the patient’s knowledge. Frequent bleeding, in turn, causes a loss of red blood cells. As red blood cells are the primary oxygen carriers, their absence causes anemia, a condition where the blood cannot efficiently transport oxygen throughout the body. The signs of anemia are irregular heartbeat, cold hands and feet, shortness of breath, pale skin, and weakness or fatigue even after simple activities like skipping or climbing stairs.
Tenesmus is a condition where a person experiences the urge to use the restroom multiple times, even after having passed stool. Essentially, one constantly feels their bowel movement is incomplete. Tenesmus is a significant early sign of colon cancer, so individuals must visit a healthcare provider immediately after experiencing this symptom.
Changing bowel habits
Besides tenesmus, patients may experience several other bowel habit changes in the early phases of colon cancer, such as frequent constipation or diarrhea episodes. Additionally, the color of the stools starts showing visible inconsistencies. Many notice red stools or blood in the stools, which usually occurs when there is bleeding in the rectum or colon.
Continuous abdominal pain and cramps
The colon is at the bottom of the large intestine. The formation of cancer cells in that part can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen, such as continuous pain or cramps.
Treatment is necessary to manage colon cancer and its symptoms. Two popular options are CYRAMZA and Avastin. CYRAMZA, an intravenous infusion (IV), is recommended for those with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Avastin, also administered intravenously, is used with chemotherapy to prevent tumor growth. Patients must consult a healthcare professional before using either of these.