Signs of Colon Cancer
Early warning signs of colon cancer
- Changes in the bowel habit – Colonic mass may cause constipation due to the obstruction of colon that may prevent the passage of stools. It may also cause diarrhea or loose stools.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort – This may be caused due to obstuction/constipation. Other causes may be ascitis or fluid collection in peritoneal cavity, gaseous distension, or metasstasis to other abdominal organs.
- Bloating or sense of abdominal distension – It may be gaseous distension due to non-passage of flatus, or may be caused due to constipation or ascitis.
- Reddish or blackish stools – Fresh blood in stools may cause reddish discoloration, that may occur due to low lying tumor or due to excessive blood loss from tumor. Whereas, passage of clotted blood may cause blackish stools.
- Nausea and/or vomiting – Non passage of stools and/or gases may cause the sensation of nausea and/or vamiting.
- Tumors in the distal part (left-sided colon) or in the rectum are generally associated with blood in stool, altered bowel habit and/or obstructive symptoms.
- While tumors in proximal (right-sided colon) causes occult blood in stools or malena (dark tarry feces).
What are the signs of end stage colon cancer
- Ascitis or fluid collection in abdomen causing distension– Peritoneal metastasis may cause ascitis (or fluid collection in peritoneal cavity) that may lead to abdominal distension when the fluid accumulates above a vertain volume.
- Breathlessness, cough, chest discomfort – Spread of the tumor to lungs and/or pleural cavity (leading to pleural effusion) may cause difficulty in breathing, pain during inspiration, cough, etc.
- Jaundice – Yellowish discoloration of eyes and/or urine may occur as a result of tumor metastasis to the liver.
Most common sites of spread of colon cancer are liver, peritoneum and lung.