What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
The most common symptoms of colon cancer are a change in bowel habits – such as diarrhea or constipation – or blood in the stool. In some cases, colon cancer may not cause symptoms right away.
Other symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping.
- Frequent gas pain or bloating.
- Narrow stools that do not go away after a few days.
- Weight loss for no known reason.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
How is colon cancer diagnosed?
Many colon cancers are found after symptoms appear. Early-stage colon cancers are usually found during colon cancer screenings, as most people with early stage disease do not have any symptoms.
If your doctor suspects you have colon cancer, he or she may conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history as well as your family medical history. Your doctor may also ask you to go in for diagnostic tests, such as blood or imaging tests.
If test results show you may have cancer, you will likely undergo a colonoscopy. Your doctor will also take a biopsy. During this procedure, we will remove a tiny piece of tissue from the colon or polyp, and a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells.
Patient Support Services
Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.