Due to the complexity of the digestive system, detecting symptoms of colon cancer in males can pose a challenge. This article will help educate you on the risk of colon cancer and the top signs to look out for. First and foremost, you’ll want to take part in regular men’s health care in order to detect the signs of colorectal cancer early on. This way, you have a higher chance of recovery.
So, what are the signs of colon cancer or colorectal cancer? Who is at the greatest risk of colon cancer, the third leading cause of death related to cancer? What is colon cancer anyway? Find out all of this and more below.
What is Colon Cancer?
Before learning about the signs and symptoms of this condition, it’s a good idea to elaborate on “what is colon cancer?”.
In brief, colon cancer is a common type of cancer that starts in the colon or the large intestine. Typically, older adults are at the greatest risk of colon cancer. Nevertheless, anyone can get this disease, regardless of age or gender. Although this article primarily discusses colorectal cancer in male patients, it’s important to recognize that almost as many females are diagnosed with this disease. Namely, the American Cancer Society notes that approximately 64,000 women in the United States have colorectal cancer yearly.
Typically, polyps in the colon are the first sign of this cancer type. These polyps in the colon begin as noncancerous and benign, but they develop into colon cancers over time.
These polyps in the colon tend to be tiny and rarely produce any side effects. Due to this, we advise you to attend regular check-ups and screening tests to keep yourself safe from colon cancer. Identifying the illness early on and removing the polyps in the colon before they turn cancerous can save your life.
On the flip side, colon cancer will develop if the condition remains untreated. Fortunately, many treatments can help you control the condition, such as radiation therapy, surgery, and drug treatments (including immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy).
Symptoms of Colon Cancer in Males
Below, we discuss the most common symptoms of colon cancer in males. You’ll learn about the typical signs of colorectal cancer and later on, how to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Bowel Habit Changes
One of the most common signs of colorectal cancer is unusual bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or an upset stomach. In addition, you may experience thin or very narrow stools that you might mistake for another condition. That’s why this symptom is commonly overlooked as “food poisoning” or something benign. However, if you are experiencing bowel habit changes that aren’t getting better with time, you should turn to a medical professional as soon as you can.
Feeling As If You Can’t Empty Your Bowels
Do you feel the urge to use the restroom time and time again, and you still feel “full”? If so, you might have a growth that turned into a blockage in your colon. Although this sign can also mean many other things, it’s best to receive expert guidance from your doctor.
You Feel Bloated All the Time
Occasional cramps and bloating aren’t signs of colorectal cancer, but if you feel like this all the time, you may have a more severe problem. If the digestive issues don’t resolve on their own in a few days, you may be dealing with colorectal cancer.
You Notice Blood in Your Stool
While reading an article on the “top symptoms of colon cancer in males,” you will surely come across the following sign: bloody stools. Without a doubt, seeing blood (either fresh or dark-colored) in your stool is frightening.
Although the blood may be due to hemorrhoids, some cases may involve colon cancer.
You Are Losing Weight Unexpectedly
If you aren’t purposely following a diet for weight loss, but you find yourself losing pounds, you may have a severe underlying condition that you need to address. Typically, cancer patients tend to lose weight due to the cancerous cells absorbing energy. Moreover, the patient’s immune system is fighting hard against the cancer cells.
You Feel Tired All the Time
Feeling tired or weak can also mean more than just colon cancer. In many cases, you may be overstressed, not sleeping properly, consuming a low-iron diet, or not taking some “time-off.” However, chronic fatigue may signal something more. If you are experiencing chronic fatigue, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional for tests and expert advice.
You Feel Shortness of Breath
Similar to chronic fatigue, as the cancer cells drain your energy, you may experience shortness of breath. Typically, colon cancer patients may feel exhausted from simple daily activities like taking light walks. But, of course, shortness of breath can also signal other underlying conditions such as lack of physical activity.
Can I Prevent Colon Cancer?
Yes, you can! The good news is that colon cancer is one of those diseases you can easily prevent. Why? Because, as mentioned, this condition begins with polyps, small, benign growths. That’s why we urge you to take care of your health and visit a doctor regularly. Fortunately, a doctor can find and remove polyps early during a colonoscopy. With early detection, you can stop colon cancer in its tracks.
Although colonoscopy is the main type of screening, you can consider other tests for colon cancer detection. For instance, patients can consider barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool-based testing, or virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography). In order to determine which procedure is the right fit for you, consult a doctor.
What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Colon Cancer?
Besides screening for polyps and their removal, it’s good to stick to the following lifestyle changes. These include:
- Staying physically active and finding interesting ways to keep your body moving.
- Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid all processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs, pepperonis, ham, and deli meats.
- Limit red meat in your diet, such as beef, lamb, and pork.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol.
- Quit tobacco use.
One meta-analysis that looked into the link between colon cancer and meat consumption found that a diet abundant in red meat (such as beef) may increase the risk of colon cancer by 28%, while a diet rich in processed meats (sausages) boosts the risk by 20%. Although these results are relatively outdated, they are worth considering.
Also, why does tobacco use boost the risk of this disease? In short, inhaling harmful toxins and chemicals into the body can invite DNA-damaging free radicals. These free radicals can mutate healthy cells, causing cancer.
When Should I See a Doctor?
It’s best to see a doctor regularly for early detection. If you notice any signs and symptoms mentioned in this article that don’t go away in a few days, consult an expert. Talk with your healthcare provider about screening for colon cancer. Usually, adults aged fifty and beyond require colon cancer screenings. However, you may need earlier screenings or more frequent ones if you already have a family history of colon cancer. If you are feeling concerned and worried about your colon health, Corus Advantage is here to help.