Colon cancer, colorectal cancer and rectal cancer are all the same disease. This kind of cancer is the third most common form of cancer in both men and women in the United States. The colon and the rectum together form the lower part of the intestinal tract. The colon is the large intestine and the rectum is the external opening of the gastrointestinal tract. More common names for the colon and rectum are large intestine or large bowel.
Colon cancer is malignant tumor in the lining of the large intestine. It begins with a single cell that changes forms and grow into a visible polyp. Polyps can grow into cancerous tumors and must be removed. If a polyp is allowed to remain in the colon and they are cancerous tumor it can further attack other organs. Medical researchers do not understand how a polyp can progress into cancer, but it is know that it takes about 3 to 7 years for a polyp to become cancerous. If polyp is found during the early stage of becoming cancerous, surgical procedure can be done to remove them and to prevent further spreading.
Many individual with colon cancer experience no symptoms at all, until the advance stage of cancer. It is therefore very important to make routine screening for colon cancer if you experience any of the following symptoms or you know that you are at a high risk of developing this disease:
- Bleeding – This is the most common symptom a colon cancer patient will experience. As the tumors grow, they can bleed during the passage of feces through the colon. Blood maybe visible if the tumor is near the anus; however it is more common for blood to be hidden in the stool. Statistic shows that fewer than 20% of individual with rectal bleeding have colon cancer.
- Pain – There are several causes of pain that may occur with colon cancer
- If the tumor grows large enough to block the passageway of the intestine, a person can experience swelling and pain of the abdomen. In severe causes, this can cause nausea and vomiting.
- If the tumor grows through the wall of the colon and into other parts of the body or organ, pain will also occur, along with other symptoms of that affected area. The pain can be hazy and dull.
- Unexpected Weight Loss – Due to the pain and the swelling discomfort of the tumor, it can cause loss of appetite, leading to weight loss.
- Change in Bowel Habits – Colon cancer on the left side can cause an individual with constipation, gas, painful bowel movements, diarrhea, and narrowing of the stool.
If you experience any of the above colon cancer symptoms it is advised that you see your healthcare provider for a more thorough check so the proper diagnose and treatment can be apply.