The thing I would stress the most about colon cancer symptoms, is that they can go unnoticed for long periods of time. Colon cancer symptoms can easily be associated with common and less serious symptoms like irregular bowel activity or haemorrhoidal bleeding and discomfort.
My colon cancer symptoms prior to my first diagnosis
I was first diagnosed with colon cancer almost 30 years ago, when I was in my mid thirties. I was diagnosed quite early this first time and I whole-heartedly believe that it was only the grace of God that allowed this to happen the way it did.
I had been into hospital for a routine operation to have my gallbladder removed. Post operation I was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort around the lower stomach area and severe constipation.
Not suspecting anything nasty at the time, the specialists believed that I could have been suffering from some internal bleeding and complications as a result of my operation to remove my gallbladder.
The specialists decided that the best course of action would be to conduct another operation to investigate the cause of my most recent symptoms.
During this follow up investigative operation, they performed a colonoscopy of my bowel and discovered something that I was not expecting to hear. The specialists had removed multiple polyps from my bowel, which were sent away for lab testing and they turned out to be malignant, which is of course cancerous.
My colon cancer symptoms prior to my most recent diagnosis
At the time of writing this information, it’s been about four weeks since my diagnosis of colon cancer this second time around.
My last colonoscopy check up was only in December just passed, which was 2015. I was given the all clear – or at least that’s what they say!
The reason I sought this most recent check up was, for about 6-9 months prior, I had been experiencing some abdominal discomfort, with varying degrees of pain.
I didn’t read much into this at the time the pain began, because around that time, I had slipped and fell off the back of my son’s truck, which had seemingly caused some pain and bruising around my ribs and that area of my stomach.
I have also experienced rapid weight loss over the last 6-12 months, but again, I put this down to a major change in my nutrition and lifestyle habits following a type 2 diabetes diagnosis two years ago.
How easily even someone with my previous medical history and total vigilance can disregard these symptoms for something less sinister.
In the beginning, it was like an on and off stomach ache. After a little while, the pain became a little more frequent and at times and a lot more intense.
I had no symptoms of bleeding in my stools, but I did start to experience a growing amount of time spent constipated or on the extreme flip side, with Diarrhoea.
These were the symptoms and warning signs that led to me going back to my Doctor and ultimately receiving my latest colon cancer diagnosis.
If you are reading this page in isolation, it is important for me to note, that my current diagnosis has identified that the cancer has also metastasised (spread) to my liver.
The most typical signs and symptoms for colon cancer can include:
- A recent, persistent change in bowel habit
- A change in appearance of bowel movements
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
- Frequent gas pain, cramps
- A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely
- Unexplained anaemia
- Rectal/anal pain or a lump in the rectum/anus
- Abdominal pain or swelling
More descriptive symptoms of colon cancer could be:
- Such as looser, more diarrhoea-like bowel movements, constipation, or smaller more frequent bowel movements (i.e. going to the toilet more often, or trying to go – irregularity in someone whose bowel movements have previously been regular)
- For example, narrower stools than usual or mucus in stools
- Bright red or very dark should never be ignored
- A feeling of fullness or bloating in the bowel or rectum
- Bowel has not emptied completely after a bowel movement
- (A low red blood count) causing tiredness, weakness or weight loss
- Or a lump or mass in your tummy
Credit Source: BowelCancerAustralia.org