Colon cancer used to primarily be a concern in people over the age of 50. However, population studies are warning younger age groups of the risks of colon cancer. People under the age of 50 are now four times more at risk than people were in 1990.
Lots of people know that bad things happen, but they never suspect it could happen to them. This is a huge mistake, since underestimating or ignoring your symptoms because you think you're too young to have cancer could be a deadly mistake. Leading London gastroenterologist Dr Loganayagam offers his advice on the five cardinal symptoms that you need to be aware of:
This is the most common symptom of colon cancer. Tumours slowly overtake the digestive tract and, eventually, your body won't be able to absorb key nutrients. Anaemia caused by an iron deficiency makes individuals feeling weak or exhausted all the time.
2. Rectal bleeding
There are a lot of minor causes of anal canal bleeding like haemorrhoids (piles) or a small tear. Many people diagnosed with colon cancer believed they suffered from haemorrhoids because the itching and bleeding caused by a tumour were very similar.
3. Bloody faeces
If your stool is vibrant red, seek medical attention because this indicates active intestinal bleeding. However, if your stool has been dark or tar-like, this may mean you're passing a lot of dried altered blood. Either way, blood in your stool is abnormal and not a good sign. You need to get examined.
4. Change in bowel habit
Colon cancers can affect the shape, frequency, or consistency of the faeces. Diarrhoea, constipation, or feeling like you haven't finished passing your stool after defecation can also occur. If a tumour leads to narrowing inside the lower end of the large bowel, then you'll notice that the stool is extremely thin because of the obstruction. If the bowel movements don't improve after a week, go to your doctor.
5. Abdominal pain
If you're experiencing unexplained cramps, tenderness, nausea, or vomiting, colon cancer may be to blame. See the doctor immediately because these symptoms indicate that your cancer has spread beyond your intestines. Cancer is scary, and no one wants to have it, but don't let your fear stop you from seeking medical attention if you feel like something in your body is wrong. It could save your life.
If you are experiencing the symptoms above, then do not hesitate to book an appointment with a specialist.