Not Just a Man’s Disease: Don’t Ignore These Digestive Symptoms

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 2.01.23 PMBy Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

Many women commonly mistake colon cancer as a disease that only impacts men. However, statistics show around 49% of new colon cancer diagnoses each year are in women. In fact, 1 in 24 women will develop colon cancer in their lifetime.

Early-stage colon cancer seldom causes any clear or obvious symptoms, so it is very important to not only stay up-to-date on preventive screenings, but also recognize the warning signs.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

•A change in your normal bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days

• A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so

• Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool

• Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain

• Weakness and fatigue

• Unintended weight loss

Colon cancer symptoms are not unique. These same symptoms may be caused by something that isn’t cancer, such as poor diet, infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease.

That being said, if you have any of these issues, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

No symptoms? You still need to get screened.

Screening is one of the most powerful tools for preventing colon cancer. Most medical guidelines recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50 for all healthy adults — younger if other risk factors are present. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin.

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