10 Warning Signs of Bowel (Colorectal) Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore

Besides skin cancer, the third most often cancer appearing in people in the USA is the colorectal cancer. You should visit the doctor in case you notice any of the symptoms listed below. Maybe it`s nothing dangerous and you are completely healthy, but you should make sure that the symptoms are not bad and do a medical control. Apart of symptoms and signs, the background of this disease is very important to be mentioned also:


Risk Factors

  • Family history- evidences show that bowel cancer could be inherited. As the NHS website claims, about 20% of the people suffering of bowel cancer have a close member of the family (father, mother, sister, brother) who has also suffered from the same disease.
  • Diet- it is proved that consumption of big amounts of red and processed meat increases the possibilities of developing colon cancer. So, in order to lower the risk of bowel cancer, you should convey a healthy regimen which is high in fiber and low in saturated fat. Read my article for the top 5 cancer causing foods to avoid for more information.
  • Smoking- cigarettes highly increase the risk of developing bowel cancer and other kinds of cancer and heart diseases.
  • Alcohol- a significant research named the EPIC study, appointed that alcohol influences the development of bowel cancer. What is more worrying, is the fact that even small amounts of alcohol can lead to this kind of cancer. The research also asserted that 2 glasses of alcohol a day increase the risk by 8%.
  • Obesity- obese people are under higher risk of getting cancer. So, you should take care about your weight using these 12 simple tweaks for weight loss.
  • Inactivity- in order to lower the risk of developing bowel cancer you should be more active and exercise often.
  • Digestive disorders- bowel cancer has higher chances to be developed in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn`s disease.
  • Genetic conditions- specific inherited features, such as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) – also known as Lynch syndrome, or familiar adenomatous polyposis (FAP), and so on can cause bowel cancer.
  • Radical and ethnic background- Afro-Americans have higher risk of developing bowel cancer in comparison to the other racial groups in the USA. While in Eastern Europe, it`s the Ashkenazi Jews who have high chance of developing the disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes- the bowel cancer and diabetes of type 2 are influenced by the same risk factors, such as obesity. To read more about type 2 diabetes, see the article about the 12 best foods to control diabetes.
  • Night shift work- one study showed that people who work at least three nights a month for 15 years have higher possibility of developing bowel cancer. But, this information is not confirmed and it needs much more researching.
  • Previous treatment for cancer- men who survived prostate and testicular cancer are at higher risk of having bowel cancer due to the side effects of the treatment they receive for the cancer.

Signs and symptoms of the bowel cancer

The most common symptoms that people with colon cancer have experienced are:

  1. Blood in stools

Blood in the stool is the first sign of bowel cancer. It can be bright red, dark and mixed with mucus and it could be mixed with your stool or on the sides. Your doctor will recommend you a fecal occult blood test which means sending sample of your stool for laboratory analysis.

  1. Changes in stool

Bleeding due to bowel cancer will make your stool very dark, even maroon, and sticky. Your stool may also become very thin, such as the diameter of a pen.

  1. Rectal bleeding

“Bleeding from the rectum appears in most of the people with colon cancer”- an article published in the issue of “BMC Medicine” in July 2009 asserts. The blood may occur after a painful bowel movement and it is usually bright red.

  1. Trouble passing stool

You may have an urgent need to have a bowel movement and afterwards realize that there is no stool to be passed at all, or you may feel that your stool didn’t completely pass. Bowel cancer is symptomized by changes in passing of stool.

  1. Anemia

Anemia can be caused by the loss of blood from bowel cancer. Pale skin, being tired and weak and having short breath are all symptoms of anemia.

  1. Abdominal pain

Constant cramping, bloating and gas in your stomach are also symptoms of bowel cancer.

  1. Weight loss

Even if you eat normally, you may experience drastic weight loss or even lose your appetite due to the bowel cancer. The “BMC Medicine” article from July 2009 asserts that more than a third of the people with bowel cancer have an abnormal weight loss.

  1. Constipation

Constant constipation is connected to colon cancer and increases the risk of its development.

  1. Diarrhea

Another symptom of bowel cancer- constant diarrhea. An article in “BMC Medicine” says that 1 out of 5 people with bowel cancer have diarrhea.

  1. Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting may appear with or without other abdominal symptoms, but they are worth to mention as one of the symptoms of bowel cancer.

In conclusion, if you notice that something is wrong, you should visit the doctor for further advice and try to stop the development of the disease.

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