Other Warning Signs Of Colon And Rectal Cancer Are:
Excess GasChange in Shape of Color of StoolsSensation of Incomplete EvacuationFeelings of Tiredness or ExhaustionCancer of the colon and rectum is the second most common cause of cancer death in the U.S.A. today. 1 out of every 17 Americans will get colorectal cancer at some point in their life. Early diagnosis is the key to achieving survival. With better diagnostic modalities and more aggressive approaches, we can improve the present rate of survival from 62% to 81%, which means an additional 56,000 patients will live each year.
According to the American Cancer Society , 90% of all colorectal cancer cases and deaths are thought to be preventable, based on existing approaches to prevention and early detection. Screening tests that detect occult blood in the stool or identify adenomatous polyps can prevent the occurrence of colorectal cancers by allowing the detection and removal of pre-cancerous lesions before they undergo malignant transformation.
Approximately the five-year survival rate for colon cancer is 90% when it is diagnosed at an early, localized stage. However, only 37% of diagnoses are made in the early stage. As a result, colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the US.
Get the test. Get the polyp. Get the cure.
The death rate from colorectal cancer has been going down for the past 20 years. This may be because there are fewer cases, because more of the cases are found early, and also because treatments have improved.
Who is at risk?
How Is Colorectal Cancer Treated
Treatment for colorectal cancer depends on a number of factors, including the general health of the patient and the size, location, and extent of the tumor. Many different treatments and combinations of treatments are used to treat colorectal cancer.
Surgery to remove the cancer is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. The type of surgery that a doctor performs depends mainly on where the cancer is found.
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The anticancer drugs circulate in the bloodstream and affect cancer cells throughout the body.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area.
Biological therapy, also called immunotherapy, uses the bodys immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer. The immune system recognizes cancer cells in the body and works to eliminate them. Biological therapies are designed to repair, stimulate, or enhance the immune systems natural anticancer function.
Get To Know Rectal Cancer
Rectal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the rectum. Sometimes cancerous tumors develop relatively close to the anal canal, a short tube at the end of the rectum through which stool leaves the body. It is commonly found in both male and female. Major contributing factor to develop rectal cancer is related to the family history of cancer, especially first-degree relatives. A wide range of signs and symptoms of rectal cancer might include rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, irregular stool patterns such separate hard lumps, a feeling of incomplete defecation, persistent changes in bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation, or alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, abdominal discomfort such as cramps or pain, fatigue or weakness and unintentional weight loss. In addition, manifestations are determined by disease severity, location and its stage.
Hemorrhoids have certainly shared similarities with rectal cancer. If these warning signs and symptoms exhibit, immediate medical attention must be sought in order to receive appropriate and timely treatments. The differences involve:
Signs You Have Colon Cancer
Rectal bleeding is not the sole sign of colon cancer. In fact, symptoms exhibited by patients may vary. Below are the most common signs of colon cancer:
- A constant change in bowel movement including diarrhea and constipation
- Change in stool consistency
- Cramping, gas, and other forms of pain
- Consistent and progressive abdominal discomfort
- Fatigue and breathlessness
- Unprecedented weight loss
- Feeling bloated
- Inability to pass gas
The presence of blood in the stool is interpreted as an alarming sign of colon cancer. However, that alone is not a conclusive proof of colon cancer. Doctors usually require further testing to clearly establish the cause of the bleeding.
On the other hand, experiencing abnormal bleeding accompanied with one or more of the symptoms above require urgent medical attention. Various tests are available in order to rule out colon cancer.
When Do I Need To See A Doctor About Rectal Bleeding
Its usually a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider whenever you have rectal bleeding. It can be a sign of another health condition that might need treatment. If you have heavy bleeding or are seeing blood in multiple bowel movements, its urgent that you see your provider. Rectal bleeding can have serious causes that need to be treated.
Read Also: Hemorrhoids After Giving Birth
Read Also: What To Do For Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids Vs Colon Cancer: Whats The Difference
Hemorrhoids are swollen tissues that have formed in the rectal area. These can occur either inside or outside the anus. Hemorrhoids are caused by straining, a low fiber diet, constipation, and aging.
On the other hand, colon cancer is characterized as abnormal growths on the lining of the colon. When cells deviate from their natural grow-divide-die cycle, they can increase in size and even multiply. When left untreated, polyps can evolve into cancer.
Colon cancer also invades nearby lymph nodes. When blood from the intestine is carried to the liver, colon cancer may spread to the liver once it has targeted nearby lymph nodes.
/5early Diagnosis Is Essential
A completely emptied bowel is considered to be a healthy bowel. With keeping waste out of the body the bowel serves a major role in the smooth functioning of an individual and as is inevitable an unhealthy bowel movement can lead to several complications. What is noteworthy is that the bowel movement of a human body is quite sensitive to the type of food that one consumes, the type of environment in which one lives and the intake of water. So very often, we tend to disturb the bowel movement and learn to live with it.
Cancer in bowel or the colorectal portion of the body which comprises the colon or the rectum is one of the common cancers in human beings. In this case there is abnormal growth of cells or polyps in the colon area.
You May Like: What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like And Feel Like
Bleeding In Colon Cancer Vs Hemorrhoids
Bleeding is a common symptom of colon cancer and hemorrhoids. When people find blood in their stool, they often immediately assume its one or the other since this is a commonly seen symptom.
While true, there are slight differences in the bleeding caused by colon cancer compared to what is caused by hemorrhoids.
It is important to understand that colon cancer and hemorrhoids occur on two different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Hemorrhoids, both internal and external, grow at the lower part of the tract, just a few inches away from the anus. Colon cancer, on the other hand, is caused by polyps found in the ascending colon or descending colon , in the upper part of the tract.
Some anatomical knowledge makes it easier to understand the difference between bleeding caused by either abnormalities.
Are Hemorrhoids And Colorectal Cancer Related
Although hemorrhoids and colon cancer do share some symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, itching and potential lumps at the anal opening, hemorrhoids do not cause colon cancer.
These overlapping conditions can cause some to assume it’s just hemorrhoids and put off seeing their doctor, which gives potential cancerous cells more time to grow.
In addition to those listed above, colorectal cancer may have these symptoms:
Diarrhea or constipation
Frequent gas pain or cramps
Feeling bloated or that your bowel doesnt empty completely
Weight loss with no known reason
Nausea or vomiting
Depending on the severity and location of your cancer, there are several medical solutions. The past few years have seen dramatic improvements to radiation treatments that reduce the need for surgery as much as 60 percent. Colorectal cancer treatments include:
Radiation, which uses high-energy X-rays or particles to destroy cancerous cells.
Ablation or Embolization, used to remove or kill tumors that might have spread to other areas of the body.
Surgery, which can range from removal of the polyps alone to all or part of the colon.
Chemotherapy, given orally or intravenously, reaches cancer cells throughout the body, including those missed by radiation or surgery.
Immunotherapy uses medication to improve a persons own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
Recommended Reading: How To Use Tucks Pads For Hemorrhoids
Significance And Possible Application
Discoveries like this are pivotal because they allow for earlier detection and treatment. When it comes to most types of cancer, early detection is the key to treating it successfully.
Patients diagnosed with a localized stage colon cancer have a 90% chance of survival within five years . That drops to 71% after cancer has spread to neighboring organs and systems. It drops to 14% once it spreads to farther parts of the body.
With technology this accurate, doctors can gain a better insight into the development of colon cancer. More importantly, colon cancer mortality rates will drop significantly in the future, thanks to the possibility of early detection.
For patients, this translates to more affordable and comfortable methods of screening. As lead author doctor Wen-Sy Tsai notes, There is still some reticence among patients to use stool-based tests or have an invasive exam like colonoscopy to detect colorectal cancer. Our results may point to a solution.
Your Blood Can Tell If You Have Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society predicts the cancer will cause 51,020 deaths in 2019 alone. However, the overall death rate is starting to drop, thanks to more advanced treatments developed over the last decade.
Detecting colon cancer with blood alone may have been an impossibility just a few years ago, but new developments are starting to suggest otherwise. Can blood tests diagnose colon cancer? A new discovery suggests that it may be possible by identifying circulating tumor cells in the blood.
Overall, colon cancer is still a difficult disease to identify, let alone treat. Multiple testing is often required to reach a conclusive diagnosis. But with a proactive attitude towards screening and testing, there are ways to significantly reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of External Hemorrhoids
Is Rectal Bleeding Serious
In some cases, rectal bleeding can be a minor symptom of a condition that can be easily treated. Hemorrhoids, for example, can cause you to experience rectal bleeding. This usually doesnt last long and hemorrhoids are often easy to treat. However, rectal bleeding can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition like colorectal cancer. Its important to keep track of any bleeding you are experiencing. If its heavy, frequent or causing you to worry, call your healthcare provider to check it out.
Getting Help For Hemorrhoid Symptoms
You should seek treatment for hemorrhoid symptoms if:
- You have rectal bleeding for the first time.
- You have heavy rectal bleeding.
- You have rectal bleeding that is not responding to home care.
- You see blood in your stool.
- You have other hemorrhoid symptoms, such as pain, pressure, itching, and burning, that do not respond to home care after a few days.
- You have hemorrhoid symptoms along with other symptoms such as fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, or a change in bowel habits.
- You have a bump that seems to be growing.
- You have continued pain after bowel movements are normal again
If theres bleeding, were going to do a colonoscopy to rule out some dangerous conditions, says Olortegui. If we can rule out cancers, then we evaluate the condition with an anoscopy to give us a clear picture of the rectum and anal canal. That way we can make sure the hemorrhoids look okay or we can determine if surgical intervention is warranted.
Additional reporting by Jordan M. Davidson.
Read Also: Do I Need Surgery For Hemorrhoids
Rectal Bleeding: The Warning Sign Of Hemorrhoids And Colorectal Cancer
8 minute read
Rectal bleeding is not only the common sign of hemorrhoids, but colorectal cancer. Due to the similarity of clinical manifestations, colorectal cancer is often mistaken for hemorrhoids, leading to delayed diagnosis and ineffective treatments. Therefore being aware of the specific warning signs and symptoms of these diseases results in early detection and appropriate treatments. If suspected signs of hemorrhoids or colorectal cancer exhibit, especially rectal bleeding, immediate medical attention must be sought as soon as possible.
How Does Rectal Bleeding Appear
You might see or experience rectal bleeding in a few different ways, including:
- Seeing blood on your toilet paper when you wipe.
- Seeing blood in the bowl of the toilet when you are using the bathroom the water in the bowl might look like its been dyed red.
- Noticing dark red, black or tarry poop while you are having a bowel movement.
Rectal bleeding can be bright red or darker in color. You can also have rectal bleeding without being able to see it. This can happen when you have very small amounts of blood in your stool called occult bleeding.
Recommended Reading: How To Heal Internal Hemorrhoids
Is It Hemorrhoids Or Something Else
Rectal bleeding and discomfort are common symptoms of hemorrhoids, but can indicate other conditions as well. Here’s how to tell them apart.
Its not uncommon to have hemorrhoids swollen veins around the outside of the anus or the lower part of your rectum that can cause painful burning or itching. In fact, 75 percent of people will get hemorrhoids at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. They can often be treated with over-the-counter remedies, and you may not even need to see a doctor.
Hemorrhoids are part of being human and play an important role in continence, says Kinga Skowron Olortegui, MD, a colorectal surgeon and assistant professor at UChicago Medicine. The problem is when they act out, but its often the pushing or straining due to constipation that makes them swell. So treating the constipation with a fiber supplement is one of the most effective treatments.
But some symptoms of hemorrhoids, like rectal bleeding, where you may find bright red blood on your toilet paper or see blood in the toilet after a bowel movement, may also be caused by other diseases, some of them serious, like colon cancer.
So how, then, do you know when to see a doctor?
If patients have pain or bleeding after their bowel movements have normalized, they should have it checked by a doctor, says Dr. Olortegui.
Is There A Distinction With The Way The Blood Would Look If Its From A Hemorrhoid Vs Rectal Fresh Blood From Colon Cancer
Both hemorrhoid blood and colon cancer bleeding from the lower rectum is red rather than brown. Its often described as a bright red or fresh looking.
Its scary to see blood on the toilet paper after you wiped following a bowel movement, and even more alarming when you see blood mixed with your stools.
Typically, bleeding from hemorrhoids usually occurs in the setting of having constipation or frequent straining upon having a bowel movement, says Dr. Neil Sengupta, MD, a general gastroenterologist and assistant professor at the University of Chicago, and GI Research Foundation Scholars Award Recipient.
Bleeding typically is small volume, may be on the top of stools, or present only on the toilet paper after wiping, continues Dr. Sengupta.
Colon cancer may lead to more significant bleeding or blood intermixed amongst stools.
The actual appearance of the blood is the same, meaning, its the same shade of red, whether its from a bleeding hemorrhoid or a cancerous tumor in the lower colon.
Its not as though a certain shade or red means it must be colon cancer.
The shade changes depending on where in the colon the bleeding is originating.
The higher up in the colon, the darker the blood because its older, and it may even appear black when mixed with the stools.
But hemorrhoid blood is always a fresh looking or bright red. It may even be pink if a little is mixed in with a combination of residual fecal smear or urine on the tissue paper.
Don’t Miss: When To Go To Emergency Room For Hemorrhoids
A Lump At The Anal Opening
A lump at your anal opening can be caused by hemorrhoids, as well as colorectal and anal cancer.
Though there are similarities in symptoms, hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer also causes some very different symptoms.
Can Flat Or Ribbon Shaped Stools Differ In Appearance From Between Hemorrhoids And Colon Cancer Are There Other Distinguishing Metrics
Colon cancer can cause bowel movements to come out flat or ribbon shaped. But so can hemorrhoids.
What should you do if you begin seeing flat or ribbon-like poops when youve been diagnosed previously with hemorrhoids?
This question is especially vexing if you have no other symptoms that are caused by colon cancer such as visible blood in your BMs, constipation, abdominal pain and unexplained fatigue.
Whatever lesion is constricting the lowest part of the passageway can imprint the final shape of the stool, says Joseph Weiss, MD, board certified gastroenterologist and clinical professor of medicine at the Medical School, University of California, San Diego.
Cancer of the rectum typically continues to progressively narrow the caliber of the stool to pencil diameter before it completely obstructs the passage.
Benign strictures and scarring from previous surgery, inflammation, radiation, anal cancer, large anal warts, hemorrhoids and scar tissue from anorectal surgery can lead to misshapen and flattened ribbon-like stool.
The change in shape by itself cannot identify if the source is benign or malignant.
That change in shape is an alarm warning that an internal examination is warranted.
Even the gloved finger of an experienced proctologist or gastroenterologist cannot definitively determine the nature of a lesion by palpation.
Even a physician cant tell by just looking at the shape.
You May Like: What To Wear For Bleeding Hemorrhoids