Colorectal cancer – first symptoms and signs of advanced disease

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The good news: If colorectal cancer is caught early, the chances of a cure are now nearly 100%. The bad news: Unfortunately, the disease usually only causes symptoms at a later stage. But there are symptoms that can indicate decomposing cells or a malignant tumor in the intestine. FITBOOK EXPLAINS.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and also the most deadly type of cancer after lung cancer. The disease could lose much of its horror if more people took advantage of the recommended screenings. This is because it is a malignant condition: degenerating cells often only appear when the cancer is more advanced. So doctors also talk about silent symptoms. But there are signs that can indicate disease, and taking these early symptoms of colon cancer seriously can save lives.

The first symptoms that may indicate colorectal cancer in its early stages

  • holding
  • Diarrhea
  • Stool color change
  • Changes in the shape of your stool (especially narrow or pencil-thin stools)
  • blood in the stool (also shows up on toilet paper)
  • bleeding from the rectum
  • Bloating, cramps and abdominal pain that occur frequently
  • Pale skin, usually due to anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting and nausea1

Also interesting: a bowel movement allows conclusions to be drawn about your health

Important to know: Many of these initial signs and symptoms can, but do not have to mean that you have colon cancer. However, they can also indicate other diseases that require treatment. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice one or more of the above symptoms.

Typical symptoms that appear only in the advanced stage of colon cancer

  • excessive fatigue
  • inexplicable weakness
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Changes in bowel movements that last more than a month
  • Feeling that a bowel movement is not fully passed

More symptoms appear when the abnormal cells have already spread to other parts of the body. The following are particularly common:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Swelling in your fingers or feet
  • breathing difficulties
  • Chronic headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Broken bones

Explained blood in the stool

Blood in the stool is one of the warning signs that makes a visit to the doctor highly recommended. The technical term for this is hematochezia. If you detect this in yourself, do not panic immediately, because the cause may also be harmless.2 However, it is important to see a doctor to find out the cause.

Even the color and texture of blood provide valuable information. The bright red blood usually comes from the middle or lower part of the digestive tract. Harmless hemorrhoids can be to blame. It is widespread and even considered a common disease. Another possible cause can be called anal fissures. These are small tears on the anus that can be very painful. It also causes very unpleasant itching and moisture in the anus. Bloody stools that are bright red in color can be the result of a gastrointestinal infection. Bacteria or viruses attack the intestinal mucosa and irritate it so much that bright red bleeding is possible.

If there is dark red blood in the stool, there is usually severe bleeding in the large intestine. Inflamed diverticula are often to blame. These are protrusions in the wall of the colon. It could also be bleeding from colon polyps.

In addition to the causes already mentioned, certain diseases or medications can also be considered because they can cause blood in the stool. This includes:

  • Chronic bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Mesenteric infarction. This is an acute obstruction of the intestinal vessels. This leads to the death of the affected part of the intestine.
  • Antibiotics. Prolonged antibiotic treatment can lead to colitis. This is due to the multiplication of certain intestinal bacteria.
  • But you can’t repeat it too often: it doesn’t matter if it’s bright or dark red. It is highly recommended to consult a doctor and find out the reason.


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