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Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, includes cancers of the colon and rectum.  It is the fourth most common cancer in the United States. Colon cancer is almost always caused by polyps in the colon, which are mushroom-shaped growths that are usually benign but can turn cancerous. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of colon cancer below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer are as follows:

  • Persistent diarrhea alternating with persistent constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Change in shape of the stool to a flattened appearance
  • Pain and gas in the lower right abdomen
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Intestinal obstructions
  • Unexplained anemia

With proper screening, most cases of the disease can be detected early, before there are any signs and symptoms of colon cancer.  When precancerous lesions or polyps are found and treated early, the cure rate of colon cancer approaches 100%.

The signs and symptoms of colon cancer usually do not appear until after age sixty, even though colon cancer usually takes decades to develop. Overweight men and women are particularly at risk. A low-fat, high fiber diet can dramatically reduce the development of benign polyps that can lead to colon cancer.

Other risk factors for the signs and symptoms of colon cancer include family history of the disease, smoking, inflammatory bowel disease, and a diet high in fat, red meat, processed meat and refined carbohydrates.

Diagnosis of Colon Cancer

A diagnosis of colon cancer is usually made through a colonoscopy. A virtual colonoscopy, which is a CT scan of the colon, is also sometimes used. If polyps are found during a colonoscopy, they are removed right away, unless they are too large for immediate removal. DNA stool tests, which can accurately detect both the presence of polyps and precancerous lesions, are also becoming more common.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer

The Colon Cancer Survivors’ Guide, Second Edition: Living Stronger, Longer
Curtis Pesmen
Colon Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatments, Stages. Everything You Need to Know About Colon Cancer
National Cancer Institute

Living With Colon Cancer: Beating the Odds
Eliza Wood Livingston
On The Far Side of The Curve: A Stage IV Colon Cancer Survivor’s Journey
Wayne Cooke

Colon Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of colon cancer.

  • Medicine Net . com

Get the facts on colon cancer (colorectal cancer) causes, symptoms, diagnosis (colonoscopy), prevention, treatment, statistics, screening, stages, and survival rates.

  • E Medicine Health

Get the facts on colon cancer (colorectal cancer) signs, symptoms, causes, prognosis, treatment information, prevention screening through colonoscopy.

  • About . com

Everything you need to know about colon cancer. … Coping with Colon Cancer. Get the Resources You Need.

  • Cancer Compass

At, our online colon cancer forum offers valuable support to all. Discuss the latest colon cancer research, treatment, and other information.,0,119,18.htm

  • E Health Forum

Welcome to the Colon Cancer Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.

Med Help

Colon Cancer Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Colon Cancer.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers signs, symptoms and treatment of colon and rectal cancers.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, risk factors, incidence, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US national Library of Medicine.