AM I AT RISK FOR COLON CANCER?
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Do not wait for symptoms to occur before getting screened. Early colon cancer often has no symptoms. If there are symptoms, they may include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool or in the toilet after having a bowel movement
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation
- Cramping or pain in the lower stomach
- Losing weight and you do not know why
- Anemia (low blood count)
Most colon cancer develops over time. A growth of abnormal tissue, called a polyp, forms on the lining of the colon. These usually start as non-cancerous (benign) polyps, but over time some change to be malignant, or cancerous. There are two types of polyps:
- Adenomatous polyps – polyps that can change into cancer, a pre-cancerous condition
- Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps – polyps that are non-cancerous
Many physicians believe that hyperplastic polyps could turn into pre-cancerous polyps or that those who have hyperplastic polyps have a greater risk of developing adenomatous polyps, especially when they are found in the ascending colon.