Other Conditions That Cause Bleeding
Not all bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids or colon cancer. Consider the following possibilities the next time you observe blood in your stool:
Red Blood Cell Count And Bleeding Polyps
Blood tests look at hemoglobin levels in red blood cells. This protein is responsible for bringing fresh oxygen into the blood and transporting it throughout the body. A dysfunction in red blood cells is called anemia.
Anemic people have symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
Anemia is caused by multiple abnormalities, including cancer itself. Bleeding polyps can worsen over time. When this happens, the survival rate of patients with cancer is threatened. Anemia deprives the body of fresh oxygen, which in turn affects the bodys capability to cope with cancer treatments.
When To Screen For Colon Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends that all persons above 45 years start screening for cancer colon
You can choose between two tests:
1. stool-based tests: you give a stool sample and get analysis for it.
2. visual-based tests: when your doctor examines your colon either by colonoscopy or by computerized tomography .
But persons at high risk like having family history diabetes or obesity should start screening at a younger age
You are free to choose what test to do after consulting with your doctor. And The point is to do the test if you need it, whatever the method.
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Types Of Colon Polyps
Polyps can grow in one of two shapes: stalk polyps or flat polyps, also known as pedunculated or sessile.
When a polyp is pedunculated, it grows into a mushroom shape, with a growth projected outwards attached to a long stalk. Polyps that are sessile are more difficult to detect and remove, as they grow flat against the mucous membrane or lining of the colon.
There are five common types of polyps, all of which should be removed during a colonoscopy for thorough testing. Some of them have a higher chance to develop into colon cancer than others. These types include:
Constipation Is A Symptom Of Colon Cancer:
Whether there is still confusion about constipation causing cancer or not, researches prove that constipation can be caused by colon cancer. In fact, constipation can be an early symptom of colon cancer.
In colon cancer, constipation can be caused if the tumor presses the nerves in the intestine. This may affect the nerve supply of muscles that do not work adequately. Inefficient working of muscles ultimately causes constipation.
Or in another scenario, that is more likely to happen, the tumor can directly compress the wall of intestine narrowing the passage. Which, in turn, makes it difficult to pass the stool. Or you can say constipation occurs. Basically, when stool passes down in the starting of intestine, it is in a more of liquid state fluid. As it further moves down, water is absorbed in the intestine along with the salts and stool gets harder successively. If the harder stool comes across any obstruction in its pathway like a tumor, it gets difficult to pass it on. This is the reason why constipation can occur in colon cancer. The narrower stools observed in the patients of colon cancer, yet as another sign, can also be caused due to the compression by tumor.
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Why Is It Important To Investigate Symptoms Of Cancer:
Dont neglect constipation, as it can be a symptom of colon cancer. Patients, who get diagnosed at an early stage of colon cancer, have survival rate around 90%. As the disease progresses, survival rate sharply declines. It is difficult to treat colon cancer. The prognosis is poor, once the cancer has spread to other organs. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the symptoms in yourself. The additional symptoms associated with colon cancer are diarrhea/constipation , blood in or around the stool, narrower stool, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anemia and jaundice. To know more about the early symptoms of colon cancer, . If you suspect any deviation from normal in your body, consult your doctor.
How Cancer Causes Constipation
Common causes of constipation for those without cancer include not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water or other fluids to stay hydrated, and not getting enough exercise.
For those with cancer, the following factors may come into play.
1. Cancer related medications
- Drugs prescribed for treating high blood pressure, diarrhea, seizures, vomiting and even depression.
- Pain medications, which can dampen the muscular action of the bowel that moves food along.
- Some chemotherapy drugs, which may temporarily affect the nerves controlling the bowel.
2. Not eating as much. Without sufficient stool to push against, the colon will move stool more slowly through the colon, giving it more time to dry out, making it hard and difficult to pass.
3. A bowel obstruction from scar tissue or tumors.4. Tumor compression is caused when cancer creates pressure against the spinal cord.5. The level of potassium is too low, a condition that may be caused by medications.6. Other complications, such as organ failure, decreased mobility, and depression.7. Abdominal surgery that weakens intestinal muscles, making it more difficult to evacuate stools. Depending on the type of surgery, this muscular weakness may be temporary or permanent.
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Colon Cancer Symptoms That Are Easily Overlooked
May 8, 2020, 12:00 AM
The critical role of colon cancer screening
Often people with colon cancer have no symptoms initially. Thats why screening is so important.
Colon cancers start as polyps, or clumps of cells, in the lining of the colon the final part of the digestive tract. These visible growths are present for years before they transform into cancer, says Dr. David S. Weinberg, chair of the department of medicine and chief of the section of gastroenterology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He notes that polyps provides a window of opportunity for cancer prevention and early detection.
Using a colonoscopy which relies on a long, flexible tube with a digital camera called a colonoscope or another screening method, clinicians can find and remove polyps before colon cancer develops or detect cancer at an early asymptomatic stage. This greatly increases the likelihood of successful treatment that allows the vast majority of patients with stage 1 cancer when the malignancy is confined to the colon to survive their cancer.
Know your colon cancer risk.
For people of average risk, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of national experts, recommends beginning colon cancer screening at 50, while the American Cancer Society suggests starting this at age 45. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that about 90% of colorectal cancer occur in people 50 and older.
Blood in the stool
Constipation or diarrhea
Not Having Any Symptoms At All
Keep in mind, that many people who are diagnosed with colon cancer report having no symptoms prior to their diagnosis. Over 45? Family history of colorectal cancer? Dont wait for symptoms to occur before you get screened. Talk to your physician or primary care provider to get more information about screening options.
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Causes Of Colorectal Cancer
Unfortunately we still know very little about the causes of cancer of the large bowel, also called colorectal cancer. However, studies have shown that the frequency of bowel cancer is greater in countries which eat a diet high in fat and low in fibre . It has been suggested that a high alcohol intake, particularly of beer, may be linked to this cancer.
There are two inherited conditions that can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. They are Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer . Together, they account for 5% of bowel cancers.
A history of severe ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease affecting the large bowel may also increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Study Finds No Constipation Colon Cancer Link
By Trevor Stokes, Reuters Health
5 Min Read
NEW YORK – Long-term constipation doesnt raise risk for colon and rectal cancers according to a new analysis of the existing evidence.
Past studies had suggested a possible connection, but researchers said those results may have been skewed by poor study designs.
Someone whos got chronic constipation is unlikely to be associated with colon cancer now or in the future, said study author Dr. Alexander Ford, senior lecturer at the St. Jamess University Hospitals Leeds Gastroenterology Institute in the UK.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with an estimated 51,000 Americans dying from it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Established risk factors for the disease include a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, irritable bowel disease, certain syndromes that cause colon polyps, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heavy drinking, smoking and being over age 50, according to the American Cancer Society.
Some experts have hypothesized that chronic constipation, by causing prolonged contact between potentially carcinogenic substances in the stool and the lining of the colon, might also increase the risk of cancer.
Fords team found little support for a link between constipation and cancer risk, according to their findings published in the journal Gastroenterology.
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What Is The First Symptom Of Colon Cancer
The first symptom of colon cancer is usually a change in your colon habits
AKA having diarrhea or constipation.
The second most common symptom of colon cancer is blood in your stools. This blood may be fresh red or dark red up to a black colored stool.
It comes when the cancer mass inside the colon starts to bleed, usually starts with very small amounts of bleeding. So, the blood coming with stool can be missed by many people hence its amount is small. So, do have care for yourself and always check for your stool color.
You may not notice frank bleeding, but only dots of bleeding within your stool.
Other symptoms include feeling always fatigued usually due to anemia from the blood loss
Also, some people can feel a mass inside their rectum or their abdomen but it is rare
To give you an overview of the common symptoms associated with colon cancer look at the list below search shows the percentage of each symptom in colon cancer :
1. Having constipation or diarrhea occurs in 75% of colon cancer patients
2. Dark or bright red blood in stool found in about 50% of colon cancer patients
3. Rectal mass in about 25%
4. Anemia and iron deficiency in about 10%
5. Isolated abdominal pain only 3.8%
Also, other general symptoms may be present like:
- Unexplained fever.
Do Colon Cancer Patients Always Experience Bleeding
Contrary to popular belief, colon cancer patients dont always experience rectal bleeding. This type of cancer spreads slowly and will not produce symptoms for a long time. Symptoms also vary depending on the location and progression of the disease.
One of the biggest myths surrounding colon cancer is the understanding that patients will inevitably exhibit symptoms. However, Dr. Emina Huang from the University of Michigan Medical School affirms that the most common symptom is no symptoms at all.
This is why tests like the fecal occult blood test exist. It is precisely because not all bleeding is visible to the naked eye. Tests like these look for subtle but significant signs of abnormality in your colon and liver, which can help identify colon cancer at its very early stages.
As discussed above, rectal bleeding may very well be symptomatic of other problems in your gastrointestinal system. Either way, we recommend getting screened in order to eliminate the possibilities of colon cancer.
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Long Term Use Of Laxatives
Laxatives and stool softeners are medicines for constipation. You can often buy these over the counter without a prescription. But it is very important to use them properly.
Taking laxatives regularly over a long period of time can make the bowel become lazy and not work properly. They can also damage the nerve cells in the bowel making it difficult for you to push stools out.
Always let your doctor know when you take drugs to help your bowels. You might not actually need them and there are other ways of helping you to have regular bowel motions. For example, changing your diet, drinking more liquid or increasing the amount of exercise you do.
How Do I Know If I Have Hemorrhoids Or Cancer
A clear rectal exam and a medical history are normally enough for a doctor to diagnose hemorrhoids. They may suggest a biopsy to monitor for anal cancer if they find an irregular growth that isnt a hemorrhoid. Colon cancer is more difficult to diagnose.
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Unexplained Weight Loss Loss Of Appetite And Feeling Weak
Losing weight, losing your appetite or feeling weak are all possible signs of colon or rectal cancer along with many other unrelated conditions. In patients with colon or rectal cancer, these symptoms are usually related. Persistent diarrhea can cause weight loss. Stomach pain and nausea can reduce your appetite so that you dont consume enough food to maintain your weight. All these issues, as well as anemia, can lead to weakness.
Ignoring The Urge To Open Your Bowels
Some people find it difficult to open their bowels away from the comfort of their own home. Others find that a busy lifestyle stops them opening their bowels.
Research has shown people who ignore the urge to open their bowels are more at risk of constipation. Water is drawn out of the poo as it sits in the rectum and so it gets harder and more difficult to pass. It is always best to listen to your body. Go to the toilet when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement.
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Study Population And Constipation Classification
We used the DNPR to identify patients with a first-time hospital-based diagnosis of constipation from 1 January 1978 through 30 November 2013. We included both primary and secondary diagnoses from first-time inpatient, outpatient specialist clinic, and emergency room hospital contacts for constipation. Patients with a prior history of cancer were excluded .
Data Extraction And Methodological Assessment
Extraction of data was performed by one reviewer , with the complete set of data extracted independently on two separate occasions 6 months apart. Issues of uncertainty or discrepancy between the data extraction sets were referred to a second reviewer this occurred in 50% of papers. Agreement was subsequently obtained at consensus meetings.
For each study, data about methodology, quality and population characteristics were extracted. Items assessed included the clinical setting of the study, whether all participants had at least one symptom or some were asymptomatic , whether each participant could have only one or more than one symptom reported, and study design items , and the ease with which data could be extracted from the paper. We also assessed the prevalence of cancer in each paper. The data categories and the assumptions required to extract the data are shown in Additional File .
One paper described two studies, for which we combined the data . In the same paper, there were ‘don’t know’ responses that were categorised as “present” for our analysis. This did not occur in more than 4.4% of responses.
We have presented results for all symptoms for cancer, but for polyps and for comparisons between cancer and polyps we have included results only for those symptoms which showed a significant association for cancer.
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Change In Bowel Habits
While it is common for people to experience a change in their bowel habits from time to time, there are some changes that should be evaluated by a physician if they persist. If you notice any of these changes to your bowel habits, take note of when the changes began to occur and any other lifestyle changes may have occurred at the same time. This information will help your physician determine the cause.
- Diarrhea. Loose stool and diarrhea are common occurrences. The condition can be caused by intolerance to certain foods, medication, stress, or exposure to bacteria . Most people will get at least a mild case of diarrhea several times per year. In most cases, the condition will resolve itself within two to three days. Your health care provider should investigate diarrhea that lasts more than three days.
- Constipation. Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements in a week, and it is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. Having constipation, however, does not mean you have colon cancer. A change in your diet, poor nutritional habits, stress, dehydration or lack of physical activity can also cause constipation. Physicians generally recommend that if you have constipation for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor so a cause can be determined.