There are many colon cancer warning signs and symptoms and I have listed the most common ones for you here for quick reference:
2) Going off food (anorexia)
4) Weight loss
5) Change in bowel habit e.g. diarrhea, constipation, mucus, wind, bloating.
6) Blood in the stool or ‘bleeding from the back passage’.
7) Abdominal Pain
These symptoms are not exclusive to colon cancer as they can als occur in other bowel conditions including inflammatory Colitis, diverticulitis, Celiac disease and many more.
If you have any of these symptoms and signs, it is very important that you have your bowel investigated further, particularly if you are over the age of 50 years when your risk of this form of cancer significantly increases.
The answer to this is anyone can get these symptoms, although thankfully uncommon under the age of 45 years of age. Colon cancer in young adults is usually due to a genetic or inherited risk. The two main conditions causing this are:
1) Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) which normally develops in people under the age of 50.
2) Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a condition that usually occurs in people under the age of 40 years and is characterised by multiple polyps in the colon (often in the 1000’s).
These conditions are normally distinguished by family history although not always. In adopted sufferers, the family history is unknown so picking up colon cancer signs in this group is clearly very important. Early detection can affect the prognosis in this group.
Risk factors for developing colorectal cancer include age and family history as outlined, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise, alcohol, smoking, exposure to radiation and some medical conditions including inflammatory colitis and sclerosing cholangitis. Targeting these groups would help to pick up colon cancer earlier which is clearly important.
Endoscopic or radiological investigations are commonly employed to investigate people developing colon cancer warning signs. The most common investigations include colonoscopy, CT and barium enema examination. You can learn more about these investigations in the colonoscopy section below.
If colon cancer is confirmed, the most common treatment is surgery.