Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting individuals of all ages. Early detection of this cancer can mean the difference between life and death. Knowing the signs and symptoms of this disease is essential in getting the proper diagnosis and treatment needed to fight it.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
Colorectal cancer can cause a variety of symptoms that might not seem out of the ordinary at first. Some of the most common symptoms are:
Blood in Stool
A common sign of colorectal cancer is blood present in the stool. While some blood in the stool can be indicative of other issues, you should contact your doctor if it is accompanied by other symptoms.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained and sudden weight loss is another indicator of colorectal cancer. This symptom is often accompanied by other issues such as fatigue, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits.
Changes in Bowel Habits
Change in bowel habits might also point to colorectal cancer. Changes in bowel habits include a few formed stools in a row, more frequent bowel movements, and looser stools for a week.
Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer
If a person is displaying any of the above symptoms, it is important to visit a doctor immediately. There are several methods used to diagnose colorectal cancer.
The doctor might take a detailed medical history to try and identify what might be causing the symptoms.
The doctor might also use a stool test to look for the presence of blood. The doctor might also need to look for mutated cells that can indicate colorectal cancer.
Imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI can be used to get a better look at the bowel to look for signs of cancer. These tests can also identify the size and location of any tumors.
In some cases, the doctor will use a colonoscopy or an upper GI endoscopy to take a closer look at the colon. A tiny camera is inserted into the body and directed towards the intestines. This can help the doctor identify any growths or tumors.
Although colorectal cancer can be difficult to detect, recognizing the signs and symptoms early on can help in receiving the proper care. Knowing some of the common signs and symptoms can help a person recognize any potential threats and seek medical attention immediately. It is always best to consult with a medical professional if any of these symptoms are present in order to start treatment as soon as possible.