Colon cancer is the most common type of gastrointestinal cancer. It is more common than stomach cancer and esophageal cancer, and there are genetic and inflammatory, and dietary factors associated with the formation of these tumors. One of the colon cancer features is how silent it tends to be and how patients are often diagnosed very late. That is because most of the signs and symptoms caused by colon cancer are mistaken with many other gastrointestinal disorders, and late diagnosis might result in poor prognosis.
Diagnosing colon cancer can be quite difficult. Even after suspecting the disease with clinical findings, your doctor might require a complete blood count, liver function tests, and certain blood tests specific for colon cancer, such as serum carcinoembryonic antigen. Another way to diagnose bowel cancer is through radiography, tomography, ultrasonography and colonoscopy. In most cases it has to be confirmed with a biopsy, so even finding a visible tumor is not the same as cancer.
Here is a list of signs and symptoms of colon cancer that everyone should know:
It is a common cause of abdominal discomfort in patients with colon cancer, but not only in these patients. It is also common in inflammatory bowel conditions, food intolerance, food poisoning, and many other diseases. In colon cancer, bloating becomes a recurrent problem that aggravates as the disease progresses and becomes worse after a large meal. In some partial intestinal obstruction cases, intestinal gas is maintained in the large bowel for a longer time. As the tumor becomes larger, bloating and abdominal pain becomes worse.
Pain is a common early sign in many different gastrointestinal problems, and it is often difficult to distinguish. It can range from mild abdominal discomfort due to bloating, to dull and persistent pain as the tumor increases in size and the nerves compress as they do, to severe and sudden pain that can result from bowel obstruction. It also depends on whether or not the cancer has spread to other tissues. Therefore, abdominal pain should be taken as an important sign to look at every patient, especially when it is acute and severe.
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