The symptoms of colorectal cancer often present at a later stage of the disease. Usually, at a later stage, it would be difficult to treat the cancer and treatment of symptoms is a part of the treatment plan. It is said that the average length of time when symptoms show from onset to actual diagnosis is 14 weeks. Symptoms are often vague and actually bear no bearing on the extent of the tumor.
Initially, colon cancer like any other orm of cancer does not feel painful or present any symptoms. Lack of symptoms does not mean that the cancer is no longer present of spreading. One common symptom during the early stages may be due to the cancerous cells eroding blood vessels and nerve cells, causing a painful sensation. The pain may increase as the tumor grows.
Oftentimes colorectal cancer presents with symptoms which is relevant to the location of the tumor. Development of signs and symptoms also mean that colorectal cancer has spread to other parts of the body, a process we know as metastasis.
The symptoms may be generalized, or localized usually at the place of the tumor. The most unpleasant location that tumor my present itself is the anus. This may result in changes in bowel movements. How often you eliminate may change. You may have constipation or diarrhea The stools may be different as well. Stools may pass as narrow width, or thin ribbons. Afterwards, there us a feeling of incomplete emptying. This is due to the mass of the tumor growth in the intestine, creating a “full” feeling.
Bleeding from the rectum may also result, which will give rise to bloody stools. Bleeding in the stools may either present as black stools or tarry stools. Black stools would mean that the cancer is present in the upper part of the colon. The black material in the stools is blood which has undergone digestion in the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine and in the colon. However, not all black stools are due to colorectal cancer. Black stools may also be seen in peptic ulcer, so that it is best to check with your doctor about your symptoms.
Bright red stool, on the other side present when the cancer is in the lower colon or rectum. This is because the cancer invades blood vessels and undermines them, leading to bleeding.
It is often impossible to see the blood using the human eye. The occult fecal blood test is used to determine if even a tiny bit of blood is present. This test is usually included in the tests that the doctor would order for a patient to diagnose a peptic ulcer or colorectal cancer.
Anemia can result from bleeding. This makes colon cancer patients looking weak and pale. It also makes a person lose weight and tire easily. The tumor.can give rise to the anemia. This is because cancer cells tend to take from the body nutrients and other essential vitamins and minerals such as iron. Vitamins, iron and other nutrients are often needed by red blood cells, so that if there is a deficiency of these vitamins, the body’s red blood cells are destroyed in the bloodstream due to the cells being of poor quality and fragile.
Once the tumor spreads and grows in size, it tends to block the part of the colon. In this case, the belly may swell and grow in size. Sometimes a tear or perforation of the intestine can occur. The pain results from leakage of intestinal contents in the pelvic area, which the other surrounding tissue inflammation and infection that results. The resulting flatulence, inflammation and infection can cause nausea and vomiting.
Fever, hormonal changes and a condition where a clot in a blood vessel blocks the circulation of blood are other symptoms not usually seen.
The info offered in this article is NOT a substitute to licensed care and shouldn’t be used for diagnosing or treating a health difficulty or condition. You need to talk to your health care provider in case you have or believe you may have a health problem.