NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Colon Cancer - page 13

NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Colon Cancer
Version 1.2012
Part 2: About colon cancer
2.4 Colon cancer screening
Serious health problems can be prevented by finding and removing polyps early. This
is because newly formed polyps don’t have cancer cells. Screening tests done on a
regular basis can find polyps or colon cancer.
This part of the guidelines discusses symptoms of colon cancer and screening tests.
For more information, see the
NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening
available at These guidelines were written for your doctor, so he or she
will likely be able to answer your questions about this information.
Polyps and small colon cancer tumors often don’t cause symptoms. You’ll have
symptoms once the tumor is big. Which symptoms you’ll have depends on where
the tumor is in the colon and if you have metastases. Common symptoms of colon
cancer are:
• Diarrhea or constipation
• A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty totally
• Blood in your stool
• Stool that isn’t as solid as normal
• Pain or discomfort from cramps, feeling bloated, or having gas
• Unexplained weight loss
• Feeling weak or tired despite good sleep
• Nausea or vomiting
These symptoms can be caused by other health problems. Most of the time, they
aren’t caused by colon cancer. If caused by colon cancer, these symptoms aren’t
likely to stop. See your doctor if you have these symptoms and they continue.
Genetic condition:
medical problem caused by
abnormal genes
Inflammatory bowel
A medical
condition that causes the
intestine to swell
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