Symptoms of Colon Cancer
What They are and How to Prevent
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

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The most common symptoms of colon cancer include blood in the stool, anemia, persistent abdominal pain, intestinal blockage, changes in bowel habits, and unintentional weight loss.

Colon cancer is often referred to as colorectal cancer because it begins in the colon or rectum. It usually develops over a 10- to 15-year period with no noticeable symptoms, according to Prescription for Nutritional Healing.

Screening is vital for colon cancer and can almost always be diagnosed at its earliest stages by a colonoscopy, according to the Mayo Clinic. When symptoms of colon cancer appear, they vary from person to person, depending on the size and location of the cancer in the colon.

Blood in the Stool

Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding are two of the more serious signs of possible colon cancer. However, because the blood may be bright red or dark in color, often it's not noticeable in the stool. If blood is detected, the National Institutes of Health recommends calling your doctor right away.


Undetected chronic bleeding in the stool can lead to anemia, caused by iron deficiency. Anemia often produces an unexplained feeling of weakness or fatigue. Another common symptom of anemia is pale skin.

Persistent Abdominal Pain

Ongoing abdominal tenderness or pain in the lower abdomen is a common sign of colon cancer. It may also be accompanied by bloating, gas or cramps.

Intestinal Blockage

When the intestines are partially blocked, bowel movements may be difficult and narrow stools are often produced. If the intestines are completely blocked, severe constipation and/or diarrhea may result, often accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping and distention. 

Changes in Bowel Habits

According to the Mayo Clinic, persistent changes in bowel habits for more than a couple of weeks should be a sign to call the doctor. Bowel changes may include persistent constipation, diarrhea, narrow stools or gas pains.

Unintentional Weight Loss

When body weight is decreased without trying to lose the weight through diet or exercise, colon cancer may be the cause. The reason for weight loss is unknown but is most likely due to the body’s lack of nutrient absorption caused by the cancer.

How to Prevent Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a lifestyle-related disease and chronic dehydration is a key risk factor. 

All cancers are formed by changes or mutations in cellular DNA. With colon cancer, these mutations allow the malignant (cancer) cells in the host tissue of the large intestine to grow uncontrollably.

According to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg, one underlying cause of all cancer is oxygen deficiency to the cells. In the colon, the main reason for oxygen deprivation to the tissues is the accumulation of metabolic waste. 

Thus, along with all the other lifestyle causes of cancer, staying adequately hydrated to flush out toxins and waste, as well as eating an abundance fresh food are two of the most important health habits to prevent colon cancer.


Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch; 2006 Colon Cancer: Symptoms Colorectal Cancer

Further reading . . .

Dehydration and Colon Cancer

Return from Symptoms of Colon Cancer to Health Benefits of Drinking Water

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