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Blood in Stools
If you find blood on, or mixed in with your stools, then this could be sign that you have bowel cancer. The blood may be dark, or bright red, and mixed with mucus. Once you see your doctor, they will send off a stool sample for a laboratory analysis called a fecal occult blood test.
Changes in Stools
If you notice that your stools are very dark in color, or even maroon, and sticky, then this could be caused by bleeding due to bowel cancer. You may experience normal bowel movements in between these stools. You may also notice your stools becoming very narrow or ribbon-like, and the stool may only be as wide in diameter as a pen.
According to an article published in the July 2009 issue of “BMC Medicine: “Bleeding from the rectum occurs in more than half of people with colon cancer.” The blood is usually bright red and it may be found in the toilet bowl water or on the toilet paper. The blood may come after a painful bowel movement.
Trouble Passing Stool
Changes in passing of stools is a symptom of bowel cancer. You may experience a feeling of not completely passing a stool or you may feel the urgent need to have a bowel movement, and then you realize that there is no stool to be passed.
The blood that is lost from bowel cancer can cause anemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells in the blood. The symptoms of anemia are feeling tired a lot of the time, weak, and short of breath. Your skin may also look pale.
A certain amount of abdominal discomfort is normal experience at times. However, if you suffer from gas, cramping and bloating a lot of the time, then you could be more likely to develop bowel cancer. It is best to see your doctor about your concerns.
Bowel cancer can result in weight loss even if you are eating normally. Alternatively, you may experience complete loss of appetite. According to the July 2009, “BMC Medicine” article, more than a third of people with bowel cancer experience unexplained weight loss.
Constipation that persists more than a few days also may occur in association with colon cancer. Chronic or on-going constipation may even increase your risk of developing colon cancer.
Persistent diarrhea is a symptom of bowel cancer. According to the “BMC Medicine” article, more than 1 in 5 people with colon cancer will experience diarrhea.
Nausea and Vomiting
If you are experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting for no apparent reason, then this may be a symptom of colon cancer. It is possible to experience these with or without other abdominal symptoms.
So if you suspect that something is wrong, go to see your doctor, as early detection is a key to the best possible outcome.
Early cases can begin as noncancerous polyps. These often have no symptoms but can be detected by screening. For this reason, doctors recommend screenings for those at high risk or over the age of 50.
Symptoms may vary depending on the cancer’s size and location, but often include alterations in bowel habits.
Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
- Loss of Appetite
Ovarian cancer is known to cause an abrupt loss of appetite that’s normally out of character for the person affected. This is because the cancer impacts metabolism—or the breakdown of food into energy that fuels the body.
- Urinary Frequency
Urinary problems, such as being overwhelmed by a sudden urge to urinate as well as peeing more often than usual is a sign of ovarian cancer—this can include bouts of incontinence (complete loss of bladder control before you can get to a bathroom) that will gradually worsen over a few weeks.
- Abdominal Pain
Pain in the pelvic area or belly that feels very different from normal indigestion and menstrual problems (i.e., cramps) is indicative of ovarian cancer. Most patients complained of abdominal pain that persisted for longer than 2 weeks, and wasn’t associated with their period, diarrhea, or the stomach flu.
- Feeling Full Quickly
In the more advanced stages of ovarian cancer, the cancer tumor itself can sit on the surface of the stomach, on the omentum (the fold in the abdominal cavity that connects the stomach to other organs), or on the intestines, causing a patient to feel full very quickly (a condition known as “early satiety”) when they eat.
Persistent indigestion, gas, nausea, or other gastro-intestinal issues, like heartburn, are quite common and persistent of ovarian cancer.
Frequent bloating or gas pain in your belly or pelvis that doesn’t go away is another symptom of ovarian cancer. For instance, if your abdominals bloat so much that your clothes fit tighter around your waist so suddenly and without diet or activity changes—this may be cause for a doctor’s visit.
- Lower Back Pain
A persistent, achy, dull pain in the lower back is a common sign of ovarian cancer. Many women patients equate the feeling with labor pain.
- Altering Constipation and Diarrhea
Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation and diarrhea, will often go hand in hand with ovarian cancer. This occurs when an ovarian tumor swells and puts pressure on the stomach, bowel, and bladder.
- Sudden Weight Loss
Shedding 10 or more pounds without even dieting or exercising is common to ovarian cancer patients in the early stage. Even though you might consider it a welcome occurrence, this rapid and unexplained weight loss should be reported to your physician immediately.
- Vaginal Bleeding
A lesser known early warning sign, one that has only been noted in approximately 1 quarter of ovarian cancer patients, was spotting or irregular vaginal bleeding outside of the regular menstrual cycle. Other vaginal abnormalities may include the sudden development of sores or blister in the vaginal area, changes in skin color, or thick discharge.
- Leg Pain
Some women exhibiting early stages of cervical cancer experience swelling and pain in the leg. When the cervix swells it can lead to an obstructed blood flow, which eventually causes the leg to swell and gives a sore, painful sensation.
- Vaginal Discharge
It’s normal for a woman to experience small amounts of clear discharge without color or odor. If the output of discharge increases, smells foul, or has any type of irregular appearance, it could be a sign of onset cervical cancer.
- Unusual Bleeding
Of all the symptoms, this is likely the most common. If a woman is experiencing an untimely bout of vaginal bleeding, it could be an indicator of cervical cancer. Consider contacting a physician if you experience persistent bleeding in between menstrual periods or following sexual intercourse. Women who are postmenopausal and no longer have periods should pay close attention to this symptom.
- Discomforting Urination
Keeping track of urination can help reveal the presence of cervical cancer in several ways. The most immediately obvious and prevalent symptom is discomfort while urinating. This is normally described as a tight and concentrating stinging sensation, but it can take on several different discomforting sensations. Usually when urinary symptoms are involved, the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and requires immediate attention.
- Irregular Urination
The appearance of the urine and urinary habits can also be symptoms of cervical cancer. If you notice strange changes in the frequency of your urine, loss of bladder control (incontinence) or a discoloration – especially with blood – seek the input of a medical professional.
- Irregular Menstrual Cycles
There should be some level of consistency when it comes to monthly periods. If time, frequency, or any other changes disrupt the regular routine, it may be linked to a future with cervical cancer. Take note of any medication you are on and consult a physician if inconsistencies persist.
- Uncomfortable Sex
Painful intercourse, otherwise known as dyspareunia, is another discomforting side effect of cervical cancer. There are several possible reasons for this symptom to develop, as is the case with many of the symptoms on this list. This symptom is most commonly linked to conditions that require medical attention, however, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
- Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain is a fairly routine burden of being a woman. Cramping and aches during a menstrual cycle are perfectly normal, but when pain lasts for longer periods, happens frequently, or becomes more intense than usual it could beckon a look from the doctor.
- Back Pain
Back pain is common, affecting around 80 percent of Americans, and it can happen for a wide variety of reasons, but if accompanied with other symptoms from the list, go for a medical check-up.
- Unexplained Loss of Weight and Fatigue
Again, on its own, these symptoms can be a result of other factors, but when other symptoms are present, it should signal the need for a physical check-up. Cervical cancer can reduce the number of healthy red blood cells which are replaced by white blood cells that try fighting off the disease. This can cause anemia which typically causes the woman to feel unexplained fatigue, lack of energy, and can lead to weight loss due to a loss of appetite.