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Colon Cancer

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Signs and Symptoms

Colon cancer frequently develops without producing early signs or symptoms. Symptoms that can occur include:

  • Diarrhea, constipation, or other changes in bowel habits lasting 10 days or more
  • Blood in the stool (either bright red or dark in color)
  • Unexplained anemia
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen
  • Abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and cramps)
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • Stools narrower than usual
  • Constant tiredness

These signs and symptoms can be caused by cancer or by a number of other conditions. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider if any of these signs and symptoms are present and to screen for colon cancer even when they are not. If the polyps that lead to cancer are detected and removed, colon cancer can often be prevented. If colon cancer is detected early, it is curable in up to 90% of cases. Currently, the American Cancer Society reports that there are more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S.

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