“Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States,” reports the American Cancer Society (ACS)—which notes that “The rate of people being diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer each year has dropped overall since the mid-1980s, mainly because more people are getting screened and changing their lifestyle-related risk factors.”
In addition to screening and preventative measures, knowing what symptoms to look for is also a vital contributing factor to an early diagnosis. When colorectal cancer is found before it spreads, the ACS says, it has a five-year survival rate of around 90 percent.
Read on to find out about five easy-to-miss colon cancer symptoms you might be ignoring.
Constipation is common, and has many potential causes. It might stem from a medication you’re taking, or a diet that’s low in fiber. But it can also be a sign of serious conditions, some of which don’t even seem like they’d be linked to the colon, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease. It may also indicate colon cancer.
“Constipation can sometimes be a symptom if the lesion is obstructing the pathway of the stool through the bowel,” warns Jessica DeLuise, physician’s assistant and founder of The Wellness Kitchenista. “It may also interrupt the nerves and muscles that cause contraction/peristalsis.”