Colorectal cancer is the third-most common diagnosed cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, with 106,180 new colorectal cancer diagnoses predicted in 2022. It is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. 1 in 23 men and 1 and 25 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 1 in 3 people are not up-to-date with colorectal cancer screenings. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin with the appearance of a polyp, which over time can develop into colorectal cancer. The problem is polyps are usually small and have no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to perform preventive colonoscopies at Central Illinois Endoscopy Center.
Although many people don’t have any symptoms during the early stages of the disease, symptoms may appear directly related to the size and location of cancer in the large intestine. Timely colonoscopies prevent 90% of colorectal cancer deaths.
Possible colorectal cancer symptoms
Frequent diarrhea or prolonged constipation can be symptoms of colorectal cancer, or at least they indicate that something is happening in your intestines. If you notice frequent changes in bowel habits or the consistency of your stool for at least four weeks, you should schedule an appointment with a specialist who can carry out a review and diagnose the reason for these alterations.
Another symptom is the frequent sensation when defecating of not being able to empty the intestines completely. In addition, rectal bleeding may be a possible symptom. Frequent pain, gas, or cramps in the abdomen could also be symptoms of a larger problem, as can fatigue and a noticeable or unintentional weight loss.
Beyond these symptoms, the best way to detect polyps that lead to possible colorectal cancer is through colonoscopy. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing which polyps will turn into cancer and which ones won’t — 90% of polyps carry some malignancy, but only 20% become cancerous. In any case, the best solution is to remove all polyps during a colonoscopy.