With the death of Chadwick Boseman earlier this year, the topic of colon cancer has been circulating on social media channels. Colon cancer—or colorectal cancer, which is when the disease occurs in the rectum—typically starts in the large intestine. To catch colon cancer early, it’s important to understand its common signs and symptoms, so you can talk to your doctor about getting tested.
What Age Should You Look for Signs of Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer affects people of all ages, but the majority of cases occur in patients over the age of 50. The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals start screening for colon cancer at age 45. However, if you have other risk factors (such as a family history of cancer, other colorectal problems, or diabetes), talk to your doctor about getting screened earlier.
This type of cancer is increasingly common among men in younger age brackets, including those in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. And though we still don’t know the cause of colon cancer, we do know that younger patients may not feel the need to get diagnosed right away, leading to more advanced stages of this disease.
If you’re young and experience any of the symptoms below, remember to be an advocate for your health and get screened. The earlier your doctor can find colon cancer, the earlier treatment can start, and the more effective it will be in your recovery.
In fact, when cancer is found before it has spread to other areas of the body, the patient has a 90% survival rate. When possible, it’s also best practice to get screened before you experience any symptoms, as by that time, the cancer has generally advanced past its initial stages.
Common Colon Cancer Symptoms
Below are common symptoms of colon cancer. It’s important to note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, including inflammation, infection, or hemorrhoids. Therefore, if you do experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to talk to your doctor right away, so your healthcare provider can identify the underlying cause and prescribe the right treatment plan.
Depending on the cancer’s size and location, symptoms may vary, but colon cancer symptoms can include:
An ongoing change in bowel habits, including things like diarrhea or constipation
Rectal bleeding, blood in your stool, or dark stools
Cramping, gas, or abdominal discomfort, including the feeling that you need to have a bowel movement even after you’ve had one
Weakness or fatigue
Unintended or unexplained weight loss
The best defense against colon cancer and other diseases is to first understand its symptoms and also recognize what is a normal function of your body and what is not. This will allow you to identify any abnormalities early on and speak with your healthcare provider about your options.
Proactive Men’s Health
To help you understand what is healthy and normal for your body, you may benefit from a customized men’s health plan that helps you achieve optimal living. At EveresT Men’s Health, our clinic offers a wide variety of proactive men’s health services to improve energy and weight loss, and help you manage your diabetes, high blood pressure, and any other health issues holding you back.
Schedule a consultation with us today to learn how we can help!