Discover the common symptoms of colorectal cancer and why you should get screened.
This is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. While colorectal cancer may not get as much press as breast cancer, it’s a type that's very common. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that of cancers that affect both men and women, it’s the second-leading cause of cancer death. Learn to recognize symptoms with the understanding that your best protection is getting screened regularly starting at age 50 or when your doctor recommends.
Bowel habits: The strongest indicator of an issue
Because of the location of colorectal cancer, some of the earliest and most prominent symptoms you might notice have to do with your bowel habits. Talk to your doctor if you have frequent diarrhea or constipation, unusually narrow stools, bloody stools or a feeling of fullness in the bowels. These could be symptoms of many other issues, but it’s best to get checked out by your doctor.
Additional symptoms to be aware of:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Frequent tiredness or a feeling of exhaustion
- Unexplained weight changes
- Gas or lower intestinal pain that occurs regularly
Screenings: Your best defense
If you are concerned about your risk of colorectal cancer, your best defense is getting screened regularly starting at age 50. Don’t wait for symptoms or pain. Many people do not experience symptoms. The CDC reports that well over half of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone had regularly and thorough screenings. Colorectal cancer screenings are simple procedures that can help doctors remove polyps before they have the chance to develop into cancer.
Learn more about the cancer care services provided at Mercy Hospital. For more information on The Miami Cancer Center, please call (305) 285-2195.