According to the American Cancer Society, it can be very difficult to treat colon cancer if it spreads to nearby areas, therefore it’s important to recognize early signs and symptoms of colon cancer.
- Constipation. It’s an important sign of colon cancer in the colon. Medical literature indicates that there is correlation between constipation and an increased risk of colon cancer. For example, a tumor at the far end of the colon can cause a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements or lead to constipation. Also, if you have a decrease in the frequency of your bowel movements over several weeks, without any prior problem of constipation, you should report this to your doctor.
- Diarrhea (especially if it lasts for more than a couple of weeks) If a tumor is partially blocking the bowel, it can cause alternating constipation and diarrhea due to the leakage of liquid stool. Also, a tumor may irritate the lining of the intestine. It’s important to consult your doctor if you’ve had diarrhea for more than a few days as it can lead to dehydration.
- Blood in your stool. Most frequently, blood in the stool is due to hemorrhoids and it is generally red. However, if you notice dark red or black blood in your stool, it can be a sign of cancer, such as bowel cancer, rectal cancer or colon cancer. You should consult your doctor if you experience blood in your stool.
- Feeling of a constant bowel movement. Changes in your pattern of bowel movements can be a sign of colon cancer. If you have the sensation of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement, discuss this with your doctor.
- Narrow stools – thin narrow stools can also be a warning of possible colon cancer. For example, a tumor can be present in the left side of the colon and obstruct the passageway and normal flow, often leading to narrow stools. If you notice any change in your stools, you should discuss these changes with your doctor.
If you have experienced these symptoms and reported them to your physician but your physician has not referred you for any additional evaluation or testing and then you subsequently were diagnosed with colon cancer, you may have a potential medical malpractice claim against your physician for a delay in diagnosing colon cancer.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.