Symptoms of Colon Cancer in Women
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women and can show up with similar symptoms, regardless of gender. Symptoms of colon cancer in women can, however, be similar to other conditions, as well as menstrual pain.
The colon, or large intestine, helps process the food we eat, absorb valuable nutrients, and eliminate the waste our bodies do not need.
When cancer develops in the colon, cells that are normally healthy and helpful to the digestive process start to grow out of control, forming a tumor.
Some of the warning signs of colorectal cancer include:
- finding blood in your stool
- experiencing unexplained weight loss
- feeling like you need to use the bathroom when you don’t
- diarrhea or constipation that doesn’t go away
- stomach pain or cramps
- feeling very tired without a clear reason
Differentiating Between Colon Cancer Pain and Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain, which many women experience, tends to follow a predictable pattern. This pain is typically temporary, showing up in a regular monthly cycle. It usually lasts just a few days during the menstrual period and affects the lower abdomen, lower back, and thighs. These cramps might be accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- tender breasts
- mood swings
In contrast, colon cancer pain doesn’t usually follow a pattern or cycle. It may be consistent, not going away after a few days as menstrual pain does. Rather than being concentrated in one area, colon cancer pain:
- can be felt anywhere in the abdomen
- doesn’t necessarily stay in one specific spot
- can feel sharp or dull
- might come and go or remain constant
- doesn’t seem to be connected to eating, going to the bathroom, or your menstrual cycle
It is essential to consult with a doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms or if your pain lasts longer than your typical menstrual period. It is important to note that colon cancer usually has no symptoms until it is quite advanced. This makes regular check-ups crucial to cancer prevention and detection.
Colon Cancer Screening
It’s possible to confuse the symptoms of colon cancer with menstrual symptoms. Therefore, be sure to listen to your body and report any unusual signs or changes to your doctor.
Checking for colon cancer, or screening is a proactive way to catch and prevent it early on. The best way to do this is with a colonoscopy, a minimally invasive exam that allows direct visualization of the entire colon and facilitates the removal of precancerous polyps.
People over 45, those with colon cancer in their family, or other risk factors should talk to their doctor about screening.
Many factors can increase the risk of colorectal cancer, including:
- older age
- family history
- personal history of polyps
- other health conditions like Crohn’s disease.
Be Proactive About Colon Health
Catching colon cancer early is key and opens more options for managing it. Finding it early usually means simpler treatment, lower chances of complications, and better survival rates.
Remember, while symptoms of colon cancer in women include those listed above, most people have no symptoms at all when they are diagnosed.
If you are 45 and older, it’s time for your colonoscopy – schedule an appointment today!