Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Often-Overlooked Signs You Should Be Screened For Colon Cancer

by Caitlin Obara

Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of adult deaths in the United States. Screening can detect colon cancer early when it is easiest to treat and when there is the greatest chance of recovery. You should be screened for colon cancer if you have a family history of the condition or if you are between the ages of 45 and 75. However, there are also some often-overlooked symptoms and signs that should prompt you to be screened for colon cancer.

Blood in the Stool

When people see blood in their stool, they may shrug it off as being due to hemorrhoids or an anal fissure. And sometimes, these problems really may be the cause. However, they can also be caused by colon cancer. So, if you have blood in your stool, especially on a regular basis, you should be screened for colon cancer.

Sometimes, people have blood in their stool without realizing what it is. If you have black streaks in your stool, or if your stool in general is black and tar-like, that means you're bleeding somewhere further up in your intestinal tract. What you're seeing is digested blood, which also means you should be screened for colon cancer.

Chronic Anemia

If you are diagnosed with anemia, which is a low red blood cell count, supplementing with iron and vitamin B12 supplements should help. But what if you've been taking these supplements for a long time, and you're still suffering from anemia? The fatigue, pale skin, and irregular heartbeats associated with anemia can be quite a burden to live with. It may be time to look for a bigger, underlying cause, such as colon cancer. Your blood cell count could be low because your colon is bleeding internally. Colon cancer screening can tell you whether this is what's behind your anemia.

Frequent Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is hard to ignore when it's present. But once it fades away, you tend to forget about it quickly. However, if you have frequent bouts of abdominal pain, you really should be screened for colon cancer. Right now, the pain may always go away after a few minutes or a few hours, but something is causing it to keep coming back, and that "something" might be colon cancer.

It's never a bad idea to be screened for colon cancer if you suspect your colon health may not be the best. Talk to your doctor to learn more.