Colon cancer is one of the deadliest types of the disease, and this is partly because, among all types, it has the mildest symptoms. Causing no obvious symptoms especially at the early stages, most cases are diagnosed when lesion cancerous change already occurs. At this point, the disease is already in its advanced state and may already be harder to treat.
The physical signs of this disease arise gradually over time, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose it correctly. Most of these symptoms are felt only when the disease is already about to do significant damage to the colon. Thus, timely, quick, and accurate diagnosis is of extreme importance for sufferers.
Common Colon Cancer Symptoms
The main colon cancer symptoms include abdominal pain and discomfort that are often mistaken for digestive tract problems. The patients can experience one or all of the following:
- Abdominal hidden pain
- Abdominal distention
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms usually become more pronounced after the consumption of food. Thus, due to the similarities in the symptoms, cancer of the colon is usually wrongly diagnosed as chronic appendicitis, ileocecal tuberculosis, ileocecal junction segmental enteritis, or lymphoma.
Specific Types of Symptoms for Specific Types of the Disease
Colon cancer symptoms also differ based on the specific type of the disease involved. For rightward abdomen colon cancer, the pain is usually above the navel, whereas for leftward abdomen colon cancer, the pain is usually under the navel. If the disease has penetrated the intestine wall, symptoms may include local inflammatory adhesion, local abscess, or chronic perforation.
For tumors localized in the rectal area, the disease may also be accompanied by rectum irritation, anus pain, or difficulty in defecating. These may also cause dysentery, enteritis, and hemorrhoids.
In the Advanced Stages
The most common symptom of the advanced stages is the development of an irregular abdominal mass with a hard texture. In some cases, such as in transverse and sigmoid colon cancers, the mass can cause pain even at light pressure.
Patients in the late stages of the disease may also experience anemia or the heightened absorption of toxins. These may be accompanied by edema, hepatomegaly, ascites, cachexia, and hypoproteinemia, among many others.
All symptoms of the disease, as can be observed, are linked to painful sensations. Thus, if not diagnosed early, the patient can suffer greatly throughout the course of the disease. A cancer hospital in China specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, including that of the colon, to make sure patients are given the best possible quality of life in their condition.