Blood in the stool and a change in bowel habits that refuses to go away are signs of colon cancer that no one should ignore. Often, people with colon cancer do not experience any symptoms in the early stages, so it is crucial to heed these warnings, notes Mayo Clinic.
Examples of changes in bowel habits include constipation, diarrhea or an altered consistency. While all three of these can occur as part of a different condition or simply as the result of the recently consumed food, if they persist for several weeks, they can be signs of colon cancer, which is why visiting the doctor is so important, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
In addition to altered habits and a bloody stool, a feeling that the bowel never really empties during a movement, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, weakness or persistent discomfort in the abdomen in the form of pain, gas or cramps can be signs that colon cancer is present. Each patient's symptoms vary, as the cancer can have a wide range of sizes and can be located anywhere along the bowel, according to Mayo Clinic.
In most cases, screening for colon cancer should begin at age 50. For people with family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, doctors often recommend that screenings begin earlier, states Mayo Clinic.