Detecting the Symptoms of Colon Cancer

What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

symptoms of colon cancerEvery cancer is different. Some show signs early on and some manifest themselves without any outward symptoms. Colon cancer lies somewhere in the middle. In early stages, colon cancer can be hard to detect. That’s why screening is so critical. When colon cancer is detected in the earlier stages, it is must easier to treat and patients have a significantly longer lifespan as a result.

For more, watch Dr. Mark Gimbel in the video below:

Mark Gimbel, MD: Colon cancer isn’t a silent killer like some of the other cancers are, but is hard to detect when it’s starting off in its early phases. That’s one of the reasons there is such a big push for screening test such as colonoscopy and early colon cancer may not have any symptoms. You may not notice even if it’s having a small amount of bleeding, it won’t cause any pain, it doesn’t cause any obstruction, so that’s the importance of actually getting the colonoscopy to identify these early cancers.

Now, if the colon cancer gets bigger, yes it can cause symptoms. The actual mass in and of itself can block the stool from going through the colon and the patient can become obstructed. The bigger the tumor the more surface area and colon cancers like to bleed, so you there can be at a significant amount of blood loss, if there is bleeding. If the colon cancer spreads and it takes up a large amount of another organ, it can affect that organ whether it’s the lungs or the liver, so it can have symptoms from that standpoint as well, so it really depends on the stage of the colon cancer how big and how advanced it is before you would notice any symptoms. In terms of pain as a symptom that’s usually not one that you are going to find with colon cancer at least not in the early stages only when there is a big mass that could be growing into other organs, so pain is not typically one that we identify with colon cancer.

Mark Gimbel
Dr.Gimbel graduated from the University of Maryland, and then had an internship at the University of Florida, Jacksonville and residencies at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He spent two years doing a surgical residency fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York and completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

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