Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, occurs when malignant tumors develop in the inner wall of the large intestine. The bad news is, colon cancer can often occur without any warning signs. The good news? It’s largely preventable with regular screenings and highly treatable with early detection.

The skilled oncologists at Regional Cancer Care Associates want you to recognize the early warning signs of colon cancer so you can seek treatment as soon as possible.

What are the early signs of colon cancer?

Many of the early signs of colon cancer may also be caused by something that isn’t cancer. One of the earliest signs of colon cancer may be bleeding or blood in the stool, which can only be found during chemical testing of the stool. Infections, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease may all mimic early colon cancer symptoms. However, you should go to the doctor if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms so the cause can be diagnosed and treated, if needed.

  • A change in bowel habits lasting longer than a few days
    (e.g., diarrhea, constipation)
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Abdominal bloating, cramping or pain
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Dark stools (usually indicates blood in the stool)
  • Narrowing of the stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss

Excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Approximately 97,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed each year; fortunately, the mortality rate is decreasing. Thanks to regular screenings, more colorectal polyps are being found and removed—before they have a chance to turn into colon cancer.

For compassionate, leading-edge chemotherapy in Central Jersey, please contact Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division today at 732-390-7750. Our cancer specialists have extensive experience caring for and treating colon cancer.