Colon Cancer Symptoms You Need to Know

While most people over the age of 50 are encouraged to get regular colonoscopies, it’s important to remember that cancer can strike at any age. So, catching colon cancer early on is the best way to battle it. You can spot cancer by knowing some of the following symptoms…

Changes in Stool Appearance

Believe it or not, stool appearance can say a lot about the status of your health. Changes in stool that warrant medical attention include pencil-thin stool coupled with bleeding, as well as black, red, or purple stool.

Keep in mind other medical conditions can cause bloody stool, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis. So, while bloody stool alone does not always indicate cancer, it does mean you should call your doctor.

Strange stool appearance can also pair with the following symptom…

Gas and Bloating

Passing excess gas is often a late-stage sign of colon cancer. Furthermore, the bloating that often accompanies gas is usually caused by cancer spreading to the lymph nodes.

Passing a lot of gas could also be a sign of a stomach or intestinal tract issue, especially when paired with the following alarming signs…

Fatigue and Anemia

Anemia and fatigue often go hand-in-hand. Anemia can also cause other symptoms, like low energy, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Anemia and fatigue, in relation to colon cancer, are often a result of rectal bleeding, which is another symptom of colon cancer.

Moreover, anemia along with the following is cause for concern…


Constipation is a common colon cancer symptom, particularly when it is in conjunction with other symptoms. In some cases, people with colon cancer will alternate between experiencing constipation and diarrhea.

Closely related to constipation is the following symptom…

Unexpected Weight Loss

Because the colon is such an essential part of the digestive system, any minor changes in its functioning can lead to appetite and weight loss.

Losing weight is not necessarily indicative of cancer. But, extreme weight loss might be one of many early colon cancer symptoms, and those who lose more than ten pounds without trying should see a doctor, especially if they notice the following…


Diarrhea is a condition marked by loose, watery stool. In addition to changes in stool consistency, diarrhea can also make a person use the restroom more frequently than usual.

In patients with colorectal cancer, tumors can prevent the colon from effectively processing waste, which usually results in diarrhea. In many cases, a cancer patient alternates between diarrhea and constipation.

Along with diarrhea might come the following…

Nausea and Vomiting

When nausea and vomiting are present in patients with colon cancer, it’s most often because a tumor has created a bowel obstruction. Nausea and vomiting alone are not indicators of colon cancer, but they can mean something is wrong inside the body.

The following is another common symptom of colon cancer…

Abdominal Cramps

Cramping and abdominal pain are also symptoms of colon cancer. This kind of cramping and pain is caused by a tumor growing and/or bleeding, which irritates the abdominal lining. Specifically, pain in the abdomen can indicate cancer along the left side of a person’s colon.

As with most of the symptoms mentioned here, abdominal cramps alone are not an indication of cancer, but they are reason enough to see a physician for treatment, especially if you have other symptoms, such as the following…


Jaundice is a condition in which a person’s skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow. While jaundice is not a common symptom of colon cancer, it does sometimes appear in patients after cancer has spread to other parts of the body, particularly the liver.

If jaundice is paired with the following symptom, the odds of having colon cancer increase…

Tenesmus (Rectal Cramping)

Colon cancer can cause tenesmus, which causes rectal cramping and sometimes results in difficulty using the restroom. With this symptom, some people might not be able to use the restroom at all.

Other diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis can cause tenesmus. When paired with other colon cancer symptoms, tenesmus can be an indication of cancer and should be discussed with a doctor.

So, what’s one of the most common symptoms of colon cancer?…

No Signs

One of the most worrisome aspects of colon cancer is experiencing no symptoms at all.

Cancer is most dangerous in its later stages after it has spread to other organs and areas of the body. Therefore, physicians recommend regular screenings to help identify cancer as early as possible. Even if tumors are present, they can still be removed with surgery if medical professionals catch them early enough.


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