Colon cancer, commonly known as colon polyps, is a type of digestive system cancer affecting the large intestine. The large intestines are also called colons and is part of the large bowel. It can also be called colonic cancer. A colonoscopy can diagnose if you are suffering from this cancer and find if there are any other associated conditions.

It’s true that colon cancer is not as common as breast cancer, but it can be just as deadly. Treatments for breast cancer, such as chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, are usually effective. We have all heard about the symptoms of colon cancer and we are very much aware of them. But when you really think about it, the warning signs can be missed easily because they are related to not only the colon but other body parts as well. This is why you should always be aware of your health condition. Colon cancer doesn’t seem to a big deal, but if it goes untreated or gets too advanced, it can cause deadly complications in every organ in your body including your heart or brain.

According to a report published by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), it is estimated that there are nearly 10 lakh new cases of colon cancer across the world every year, out of which 8 lakhs are found in Europe and America alone.

Typically, early symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea or change in bowel habits, bloating around waist, excessive gas and stomach pain may not be associated with colon cancer. Due to this fact, these symptoms are often ignored by people. However, these symptoms can also be a sign of other serious bowel diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

If you’ve never heard the term before, a colonoscopy is a procedure used to get a look inside your colon, the last part of your digestive tract. Patches are placed on your skin as an anaesthetic (you won’t feel any pain) and then you lay on your side while the doctor inserts a long, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The tube has a tiny camera that takes pictures of your whole colon. The doctor can then see any polyps or signs of other problems in the colon. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. But it’s also one of the easiest to detect and prevent if found early enough.

Doctors say the best way to fight colon cancer is to get screened for it.

The following signs may be an indication of colon cancer:

1. Trouble going to the bathroom: If you feel pain or notice blood in your stool, it could be a sign of tumors in your colon. The most common symptom of colon cancer is having trouble going to the bathroom. You may feel like there’s something stuck and you can’t pass it, or it may be difficult to go at all. Stools may be unusually small or hard, which are also signs that something is wrong.

2. Blood in stools:  You may notice blood in your stool if you have bleeding ulcers or an inflamed colon. These conditions can lead to anaemia, which makes people tired and weak, causing them to faint and bruise easily. You will also have frequent nosebleeds, bruises on your body or easy bleeding from cuts. This can also be a symptom of colorectal cancer.

3. Abdominal pain or discomfort: Signs of internal bleeding include pain in your abdomen, which may worsen when you cough, sneeze or lift something, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). You could also feel pain in your back between your shoulder blades or on one side of your abdomen.

4. Loss of appetite and/or weight loss: Cancer that spreads throughout the body might cause a loss of appetite and weight loss, as well as fatigue and weakness, according to the ACS.

5. Unexplained Tiredness: When a person is fighting colorectal cancer, their immune system becomes hyperactive, resulting in the body needing extra energy. A loss of red blood cells, rich in iron from the rectum, may cause fatigue. Not eating enough in order to maintain energy levels may make you feel sleepy, lethargic, weak, and tired for no apparent reason. Those over 50 are likely to develop deficiency for iron and possibly anaemia, which causes a general malaise and weakness. A blood test can uncover such a deficiency, so consult your doctor if you have symptoms.

If you think you or anyone in your family has symptoms of colon cancer, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. The sooner it’s diagnosed, the better your prognosis. Colon cancer can be cured if caught early. Colon cancer is also treatable for many forms of the disease if caught in time. While everyone wants to achieve a long, happy life, it starts with a routine colonoscopy.

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