Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the US. Almost 140,000 people have been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer only this year.
The death rate due to this type of cancer is very high because the symptoms are easy to overlook, so most people wait too long to be diagnosed and treated, when it`s too late.
Here are 5 unusual signs of colorectal cancer which you should not ignore. Knowing how to recognize them and react in time will reduce the risk of fatal consequences. Also, we will tell you what you can do to prevent its development.
Abdominal cramps are a symptom of many conditions not linked to cancer, so this is the reason why it`s usually overlooked as a possible sign of colorectal cancer. Still, don`t freak out every time you feel pain in the stomach.
Intense and long-lasting stomach cramps and pain can be a major indicator of colorectal cancer, so consult your doctor in case they don`t seem to be going away.
Another commonly dismissed symptom, because it usually indicates something less serious, like not enough sleep or unbalanced diet.
But if you are sleeping properly and eating healthy food, rich in important nutrients, and still feel constant fatigue, don`t ignore this symptom. Cancer cells are using the energy from the body, causing fatigue. When it comes to colon cancer, it is accompanied by blood loss.
- Unexplained weight loss:
Sudden decrease in weight is a possible symptom of many types of cancer, as well as colorectal cancer. This term indicates unintentional loss of 5% of the body weight, in a 6-month period. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, and unintentionally lose 6,5 pounds in 6 months, this will be described as unexplained weight loss.
Cancer cells are using the body`s energy and the immune system is working extra hard to fight the disease and prevent its spreading, which is causing drop in the body weight.
Another possible reason for this, when it comes to colon cancer, is a large tumor blocking the colon and affecting the bowel movement, resulting in severe loss of weight.
- Irregular bowel movements:
Most of us don`t pay enough attention to our bowel movements, their consistency, timing and appearance, even though they can be an indication of possible health issues, like colorectal cancer.
Colon polyps are small group of cells which can get cancerous; when they become tumors, they affect the bowel movements, especially the function of the large intestine. The results are changes in the stool, like diarrhea, constipation, loose and watery stool, which may all be symptoms of colorectal cancer, if not caused by other issues.
- Bloody stool:
We`ll all be alarmed if we notice blood in our stool, but most of us are too embarrassed to address this problem and search for help and advice from the doctor or some friend or family member.
Also, it is possible that the blood is too dark to even be noticed.
Rectal bleeding and blood in the stool can be possible signs of colorectal cancer. Consult your doctor if you frequently notice bright red blood on the toilet paper or pink/reddish water in the toilet.
How to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer?
Certain changes in your diet and lifestyle can lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer, like:
- Consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains: This type of food is linked to lower risk of colon cancer. On the other hand, diet rich in red and processed meat increases the chances of developing either colon or rectal cancer.
- Regular exercising: Physical inactivity increases the chances of developing colon cancer.
- Alcohol abuse: According to the American Cancer Society, you should limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks a day, because heavy drinking has been linked to colon cancer development.
- Stop smoking: Smoking has been linked to many types of cancer, and one of them is colorectal cancer.
- Obesity: Overweight or obese people have higher chances of developing colon cancer, as well as dying from it. Too much weight will make your body weak, so it won`t be able to fight the cancer.