Bowel Cancer Signs: Symptoms That Indicate Growth of Malignant Tumour

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bowel cancer symptoms that indicate tumour growth

Research suggests that our complex body consists of more than 37 trillion constantly changing and naturally growing cells. When body cells begin to divide in an inappropriate and uncontrolled way, they cause cancer. Bowel cancer or colon cancer is a very common kind of cancer among the existing deadliest cancers worldwide. Among the top 5 most frequently reported cancer cases in India, colorectal cancer affects people more frequently than any other cancer. Depending on where the cancer cells are located—usually, the colon and the rectum—bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, rectal cancer or colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine.

Read below to know what bowel cancer is.

What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer affects the large bowel, which consists of the colon and rectum. Cancer that originates in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that originates in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Cancer cells that affect any of these organs are sometimes called colon cancer. Although this is not the case in all cases, most colon cancers commonly arise over time from adenomatous (precancerous) polyps. Polyps (growths) can change after a number of mutations (abnormalities) in cellular DNA. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include a family history of colon or rectal cancer, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, and inflammatory bowel disease.

How is a Tumor Formed?

The intestine consists of two main parts, the small intestine and the large intestine. The food we intake ends up in the large intestine, where water and some nutrients are absorbed, leaving behind waste products, which pass through the intestines before leaving the body.

The most common type of colorectal cancer affects the colon, including the large intestine and anus. Cancer begins when something goes wrong inside a cell and it begins to grow out of control and form a tumour.

Where Does Bowel Cancer Start?

Bowel cancer begins in the large intestine (colon) or rectum (rectum). The last part of the digestive tract is known as the colon. Colon cancer normally influences more established grown-ups. However, it can occur at whatever stage in life. It typically starts as tiny, noncancerous (harmless) clusters of cells called polyps that structure within the colon. After some time, a portion of these polyps can become malignant colon growths.

Colon Cancer

The large intestine is one of the most important parts of the digestive system. It's about 5 feet long and has 4 sections. Cancer can develop in any of these cases.

The parts of the large intestine are:

Ascending Colon - Upper right side of the abdomen. It is further connected to the small intestine by a portion of the intestine called the cecum
Transverse Colon - Runs from right to left across the body under the stomach
Descending Colon - Down the left side of the abdomen
Sigma - S-shaped bend that connects the descending colon to the posterior passage

Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer originates in the last part of the colon (the posterior passage or rectum). This part of the intestine stores faeces until it is ready to be expelled from the digestive system.

Rectal cancer is also identified as cancer of the rectum.

What are the Symptoms of Bowel Cancer?

Symptoms of bowel cancer may include changes in normal bowel habits and blood in the stool. There are possibilities of other symptoms too and it is important to see a doctor if these symptoms last longer.

Symptoms of bowel cancer (colorectal cancer) may include:

  • Bleeding from the anus (rectum) or blood in stool
  • Change in normal bowel habits such as loose bowel movements, more frequent bowel movements or constipation.
  • A bump felt by a doctor in the anus or abdomen (belly), more commonly on the right side.
  • Feeling tight in the bowel (as if you were about to poop) even after releasing the bowel.
  • Weight loss.
  • Abdominal or back pain.
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath (anaemia) due to a lower than normal red blood cell count.

Cancer can block the bowel at times. This is called intestinal obstruction. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramping pain
  • bloating
  • Constipation and shortness of breath
  • Sickness

Bowel obstruction is an emergency. If you think you have an intestinal obstruction, you should seek immediate medical attention or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Symptoms of Advanced Bowel Cancer

Advanced bowel cancer starts in either the rectum (rectum) or colon (large intestine) and has spread to other body parts.

Symptoms of advanced colorectal cancer may include symptoms of colorectal cancer that have not spread. Depending on which part of the body cancer has spread, the other symptoms appear. .

The following symptoms do not necessarily mean advanced cancer. Other conditions can cause them. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any symptoms that bother you or if they last more than a few days.

Common symptoms of advanced bowel cancer include:

  • Tiredness
  • Low energy level
  • Reduced appetite

Symptoms When Cancer Spreads to the Liver

If cancer spreads to the liver, symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the right side of the abdomen.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Anorexia and weight loss.
  • Abdominal swelling (called ascites).
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
  • Itchy skin

Symptoms When Cancer Spreads to the Lungs

If cancer spreads to the lungs, symptoms may include:

  • Prolonged complication of Cough (often worse at night).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Persistent chest infection.
  • Blood Vomit.
  • A collection of fluid between the chest wall and the lungs (pleural effusion).

Symptoms When Cancer Spreads to the Bone

If cancer cells have spread to the bone, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the affected bone.
  • Weak bones that can break or fracture.

When bone is damaged by advanced cancer, the bone may release calcium into the blood. This is called hypercalcemia and can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Malaise
  • Nausea (nausea)
  • Constipation
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Thirst
  • Confusion

Simple Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Risk of Bowel Cancer

Making minor changes in your day-to-day life can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Here are some of the common preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants that may help prevent cancer.
  • If you consume alcohol, drink in moderation and limit the amount of alcohol intake.
  • Quit smoking for better health. If you find quitting smoking difficult, consult a doctor or a therapist for help.
  • Make exercising a routine most days of the week. Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. If you are inactive, start slowly and gradually and extend your workout time to 30 minutes. Also, consult your doctor or a physician before beginning an exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are already at a healthy weight, try to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, talk to your doctor about healthy ways to reach your goals. Try to reduce weight slowly by exercising more and cutting down on calories.

Summing It Up

Bowel cancer can occur in people younger than the recommended screening age. See your doctor if any of these symptoms persist for several weeks or get worse and request an appointment for a colonoscopy. Mitigating symptoms is essential for cancer care and treatment, even after cancer has been diagnosed. Treatment of symptoms is also called palliative care or supportive care. It often begins soon after diagnosis and continues during treatment.

Be sure to discuss any symptoms you are experiencing, including new symptoms or changes in symptoms, with your health care expert. Self-examination and screening tests help identify problems at the right time so that you can get timely medical care. Cancer treatment can be costly, so a dedicated cancer insurance plan is important. Cancer Insurance by Care Health Insurance offers comprehensive medical coverage for cancer treatment.

Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance, Coverage and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.



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