In many cases, colon cancer in women will occur without any symptoms whatsoever. This is why it is vitally important that women are screened regularly by their physicians for colorectal cancer, even if no symptoms are present.
In addition to assessing medical history and testing with a physical exam, there are a number of different tests that a doctor may perform to better detect colon cancer and polyps in the large intestine. These tests can be used to determine if any polyps are present so that they can be quickly removed to reduce the risk of cancer.
Early Symptoms of Colon Cancer
One of the earliest symptoms of colon cancer is bleeding. Small tumors found in the colon are likely to bleed on occasion. However, trace amounts of blood are often only detected through chemical testing of the stool. This bleeding is referred to as occult bleeding since it is minimal and invisible to the naked eye.
When tumors in the colon grow larger, they can change the texture and frequency of the stool. Other common symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Changes in bowel movement, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Blood in the stool
- Sudden weight loss
- Abdominal discomfort
Another important symptom to watch out for is narrow stools caused by colon cancer. Thin or narrow stools are important to take note of since they represent significant changes in the large intestine. If narrow stools last for more than two weeks and are accompanied by any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to see a doctor right away.
Colon Cancer Symptom: Narrow Stools
When stool first enters the colon, it is in a liquid as opposed to a solid form. This thick liquid can easily flow over blockages into more narrow areas of the large intestine. As waste moves throughout the colon toward the rectum, water is absorbed from the stool so that it becomes solid. The further that stool travels throughout the colon, the more solid that it will become.
When stool becomes solid, it is difficult for it to maneuver around narrow areas and blockages in the colon. If a tumor is located in the middle portion of the colon or in the rectum, it will be difficult for stool to pass through the large intestine. In order for stool to pass through, it will have to squeeze through a narrow opening, causing thin, long stool as a result. This could be a significant warning sign of a tumor or serious blockage in the colon.
It is important to contact your doctor right away about narrow stools if more than three days have passed since your last bowel movement. It is also a concern if you have experienced thin stools for over two weeks or have noticed a significant change in bowel movements.
If you have narrow stool and see blood in or on the stool, contact your doctor immediately. If narrow stools are accompanied by severe rectal and abdominal pain, bloating, or persistent cramps, this could also indicate symptoms of colon cancer or polyps that need medical attention and removal.
|Cancer||Causes and Risks||Symptoms||Diagnosis||Treatment|
|Endometrial Cancer||Introduction: Causes and Risk Factors||Symptoms||Diagnosis and Staging||Treatment|
|Cervical Cancer||Introduction: Causes and Risk Factors||Symptoms||Diagnosis and Staging||Treatment|
|Ovarian Cancer||Introduction: Causes and Risk Factors||Symptoms||Diagnosis and Staging||Treatment|
|Breast Cancer||Introduction: Causes and Risk Factors||Symptoms||Diagnosis and Staging||Treatment|
|Colon Cancer||Introduction: Causes and Risk Factors||Symptoms||Diagnosis and Staging||Treatment|
Source: "Colon cancer - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.