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.