Symptoms of colon cancer depend on the size and location of the cancer. There may be no obvious symptoms in the initial stages of the disease. However, symptoms increase in quantity and degree of severity as the disease progresses.
Colon cancer manifests itself in two forms, local (confined to the colon) and systemic colon cancer (cancer has spread to different parts of the body). There is a variation in the signs and symptoms of these two forms.
These symptoms include a change in bowel habits that include constipation or diarrhoea, feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation, blood (either bright red or very dark) in stools, “pencil stools” (stools thinner than normal) and persistent abdominal discomfort accompanied by cramps, gas or pain. Consult your doctor right away if you are experiencing similar symptoms over a few days.
Characteristic symptoms of systemic cancer include unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite accompanied by fatigue or weakness, nausea, anaemia and jaundice. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should be seen by your health care provider at the earliest.