One of the most common signs of colon cancer is a change in bowel habits. This ranges from constipation or diarrhea to changes in the size or shape of bowel movements. A change in stool color, particularly black or tarry stools, can indicate bleeding from a tumor that lies deep in the colon. Other symptoms can be harder to pinpoint, such as abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss. Finally, some tumors bleed a small amount over a long period of time, resulting in anemia (low red blood cell count) that is picked up on blood work.
We asked leading colorectal doctors to identify some symptoms that could indicate colon cancer, and to separate the myths from the medicine in prevention and screening.
Getting the News About Cancer: What to Do
Stay Positive, It Matters
About 10 percent of colon cancers develop because of an inherited genetic mutation. The major sub-types of hereditary colon cancer are called familial adenomatous polyposis – or FAP – and Lynch Syndrome.
Genetic Disorders in Colon Cancer: FAP