It is easy to overlook general symptoms such as bloating, cramping and abdominal pain and not think they are anything to be concerned about. While symptoms that directly impact the digestive system, such as bloody stools, are alarming and usually get the attention they deserve, some symptoms that occur in other areas of the body are often dismissed even though they may be just as serious. Colon cancer symptoms in women can come in different forms and in varying degrees, but it is important to stay vigilant and take notice if any changes, especially of they seem to happen rather suddenly.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing any signs of colon cancer that are discussed below, consult your doctor and schedule an exam. Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy or a barium enema to examine the inner walls and linings of the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if it is found in its early stages, so early detection is paramount. It is also important to remember, that while in its development stage, colon cancer may not present the patient with any symptoms at all. This is why regular screening for anyone over the age of 50 is routinely stressed.
Symptoms in the Digestive System
Certainly not the most glamorous of activities, examining your bowel movements for any sudden changes is important as this is where some of the most noticeable signs of colon cancer can be spotted.
- Rectal Bleeding and Bloody Stools
- Abdominal Discomfort and Pain
- Diarrhea, Constipation or both
- Thinner than average stools (pencil stools)
- Very sudden, unexplained changes in bowel habits
While a symptom such as rectal bleeding is going to be startling and should demand your attention, it is wise not to overlook any other changes in your bowel movements no matter how mild they may seem. Tell your doctor about any and all changes in this area.
It’s easy to have a symptom such as bloody stools and correlate that with a potential colon or digest system problem, however there are some general symptoms to keep an eye out for that you may not normally associate with colon cancer.
- Sudden weight loss
- Unexplained Anemia
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
- Vomiting or Nausea
These are rather general symptoms that can be caused by a number of different conditions and having any of them does not mean you have cancer. However, if you are experiencing any of these it is important to inform your doctor, especially if coupled with any symptoms that affect your bowel movements.
It is estimated that nearly 50,000 people in the US will die from colorectal cancer in 2011, with about half of those being women. Yet, with early diagnosis colon cancer treatment has a 5 year success rate of around 90%. It is not just a “man’s disease” that some still unfortunately believe. It is an equal opportunity killer that strikes just as many women as it does mean. It is important to know the colon cancer symptoms in women and to pay attention to the signs your body may give you.
While colonoscopy prep and having a colonoscope stuck up your rear is not the most pleasant of experiences, a colonoscopy can do wonders for early detection and is a key component of colon cancer screening. If you are in a high risk group, which includes anyone over the age of 50, anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer and anyone who has been previously treated for colorectal cancer then regular exams are recommended.
If your body is giving you warning signs then it is important to take heed. Do not ignore the colon cancer symptoms in women, be smart about them and make sure you discuss any and all changes with your doctor.