Colon cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the United States. In 2016, approximately 140,000 people have been diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. What makes this cancer deadly is the fact that most people detect it in its later stages when treatment is more difficult. One of the reasons why colorectal cancers are often overlooked until it’s too late is the fact that the symptoms they produce are very subtle and easily mistaken for some less serious ailment

Here are the 5 commonly overlooked warning signs of colorectal cancer that most people normally ignore. Noticing these signs early is crucial for early detection, thus successful treatment.

Cramps –  Abdominal cramps is one of the first overlooked symptoms of colorectal cancer. What makes this sign so easily ignored is that abdominal cramps are often related to many other, non-cancerous conditions.

While it’s true that abdominal cramps are not always a red alert, if you are experiencing intense and long-lasting stomach cramps that don’t go away, especially if accompanied with other colorectal cancer symptoms, don’t hesitate to discuss the issue with a doctor.

Fatigue –  Fatigue is another symptom that is almost always overlooked and it is not considered as something serious. The main reason is because people think they are tired due to lack of sleep or fast and busy lifestyle.

However, if your fatigue doesn’t go away even when you have enough rest, it’s shouldn’t be ignored. Even more, if it’s accompanied with other symptoms of colorectal cancer, it’s a serious warning sign.

The thing is cancer cells use the body’s energy thus causing fatigue. In addition, colon cancer can trigger rectal bleeding, which is another cause of fatigue.

Sudden Weight Loss –  Sudden and unintentional weight loss of more than 5 percent of your body weight in six months is a serious warning sign that should never be ignored.  For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, losing more than 7 pounds without changing your dietary regimen is a red alert to consult a doctor.

This happens because the cancer uses body’s energy, and the immune system has to works hard to prevent diseases. The patient loses weight because of the energy expenditure.

In the case of colorectal cancers, a large tumor can block the colon thus affecting a person’s bowel movements and causing loss of appetite and radical weight loss.

Irregular Bowel Movements –  A lot of individuals do not pay much attention to their bowel movement. What you do not know is that the timing, appearance, and consistency can tell pretty much about your health, including the development of colon cancer.

Colon polyps are small clusters of cells that can become cancerous over time. When these polyps become tumors, they start affecting bowel movements. The changes in your stool are a serious sign that seeks urgent medical attention because colon tumors affect the function of the large intestine.
Bloody stool

This is a rather worrying symptom, but people do not really talk about their condition. If you notice blood in your stool or the water in the toilet is red, do the necessary tests immediately.

Reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

You can introduce a few changes in your lifestyle to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Here are a few of them:

1. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains
Eating healthy will help you reduce the risk of colon cancer. Avoid red and processed meats.

2. Regular exercise 
Regular workout also reduces the risk of developing colon cancer, so make sure you are physically active more often.

3. Quit smoking
Smoking causes several types of cancers, which includes colon cancer as well.

4. Limit your alcohol intake
Experts from the American Cancer Society claims that too much alcohol consumption increases         the risk of cancer. Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks a day.

5. Control your weight
Overweight persons have a poor immune system, and they are more prone to many diseases, including colon cancer. This also increases the number of death cases caused by cancer, because an overweight body cannot respond properly and fight back.

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