Colon cancer is also commonly known as colorectal cancer or large bowel cancer. It is actually cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in males and fourth in females. It is second to cause death from cancer.
Colon cancer can be defined in a simple way as a cancer of the large intestine, which is known as colon. It is in the lower part of the digestive system. When the cancer is formed on the last few inches of the colon then it is known as rectal cancer. Together it is known as colorectal cancers.
There are three main functions of colon cancers:
• It digests and absorbs the nutrient from the food.
• It concentrates fecal material by absorbing fluid from it known as electrolytes.
• It stores and controls evacuation of fecal materials.
Colon cancer early symptoms
In fact the symptoms of colon cancer depend on the location of the cancer tumor. The following are the three main symptoms of colon cancer:
• Local symptoms – If the cancer tumor is closer to the anus then local symptoms are seen. One may find a change in the bowel habit and may feel incomplete defecation. There may be reduction in diameter of stool, tenesmus and also change in stool shape. The last two are symptoms of rectal cancer.
• Constitutional symptoms – Fatigue, palpitations and pale appearance of the skin. This occurs when the tumor has caused chronic occult bleeding, which leads in iron deficiency anemia. Other symptoms are unexplained fever and one of the paraneoplastic syndrome such as thrombosis, the most common of them. It is usually a deep vein thrombosis.
• Metastatic symptoms – Colorectal cancer usually spreads to the liver and the symptoms are jaundice and abdominal pain.