3. Sudden Weight Loss
An immediate and dramatic decrease in weight can be caused by a variety of cancers, one of them being colon cancer. The Mayo Clinic describes unexplained weight loss as the unintentional loss of 5% of your body weight within six months (4).
For someone who weighs 150 pounds, losing 7 and 1/2 pounds within six months without changing diet, exercise or your sleeping pattern qualifies as “unexplained weight loss”.
Not only do cancer cells take plenty of energy, your immune system also uses energy to try to fight off the disease.
4. Irregular Bowel Movements
Since cancer can affect bowel structure, meaning that it can also influence the timing, consistency, and appearance of your stool.
Colon polyps can turn into tumor over time, which can make your stool either more diarrhea-like or leave you constipated. If your bowel movements have changed or if they excessively dark, it’s time to visit your doctor (5).
5. Bloody Stool
Every time you go to the washroom, you should take a quick look at your stool to get a better idea of your overall health.
Bloody or black stool can be scary or embarrassing, but it has to be mentioned to your doctor. While bloody stool indicated bleeding in your rectum or anus, black stool indicates bleeding higher up in your digestive tract (6).
Of all the signs on the list above, this is the one you absolutely can’t ignore.
How To Lower Your Risk Of Colon Cancer
- Eat your fruits, veggies, and grains: these fiber-rich foods clear toxic waste from your intestines and promote healthy bowel movements to keep you regular and clear. Some of these foods also lower inflammation.
- Exercise regularly: exercise is essential to maintain a healthy weight, fight inflammation, and clear toxins. Plus, it also supports proper bowel function.
- Don’t smoke: smoking elevates your risk of every type of cancer, including cancers of the colon and rectum.
- Manage your weight: Obese and overweight people are more likely to develop colorectal cancer. Their risk of dying of the disease is also greater.
- Limit alcohol: excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for colorectal cancer.