Colon cancer symptoms: How to recognize them!


Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a malignant tumor that develops in the colon or rectum. It is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide, but early detection and treatment significantly improve the chances of successful outcomes. Being aware of the symptoms associated with colon cancer is essential in identifying potential warning signs and seeking prompt medical attention. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of colon cancer symptoms, emphasizing the importance of early detection and encouraging proactive health management.

  1. Persistent Changes in Bowel Habits

Persistent changes in bowel habits can be an early indicator of colon cancer. This includes experiencing diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both for an extended period. Individuals may also notice changes in stool consistency, such as narrower or thinner stools, which could indicate a blockage or narrowing in the colon. If you observe any persistent and unexplained alterations in your bowel habits, it is important to consult a gastroenterologist for evaluation.

  1. Rectal Bleeding or Blood in Stool

Rectal bleeding or the presence of blood in the stool is a significant warning sign of colon cancer. Blood may appear bright red or dark and tarry, depending on the location of the tumor and the extent of bleeding. While rectal bleeding can be caused by various factors, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures, any unexplained bleeding should be investigated by a gastroenterologist.

  1. Abdominal Pain and Discomfort

Abdominal pain and discomfort are common symptoms of colon cancer, particularly in the lower abdomen. The pain may be described as persistent cramping, gas-like pain, or a feeling of fullness. If you experience unexplained abdominal pain that persists over time or becomes increasingly severe, seek medical attention for further evaluation.

  1. Unexplained Weight Loss and Fatigue

Unintentional weight loss and persistent fatigue can be signs of colon cancer. When cancer affects the colon or rectum, it can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, leading to weight loss. Additionally, cancer-related fatigue may manifest as a persistent lack of energy, even after adequate rest. If you notice a significant and unexplained decline in weight or experience ongoing fatigue, it is crucial to consult a gastroenterologist.

  1. Iron Deficiency Anemia

Colon cancer can lead to chronic bleeding, resulting in iron deficiency anemia. Anemia may cause symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness, pale skin, and shortness of breath. If you experience these symptoms along with other potential warning signs of colon cancer, it is essential to undergo a thorough medical evaluation.

  1. Changes in Bowel Urgency or Incomplete Evacuation

Colon cancer can cause a persistent change in bowel urgency or a sensation of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement. This feeling of not completely emptying the bowels can persist even after multiple trips to the bathroom. If you consistently experience changes in bowel urgency or a persistent sense of incomplete evacuation, it is advisable to consult a gastroenterologist for further assessment.

Bottom line

Recognizing the symptoms associated with colon cancer is crucial for early detection and timely intervention. While these symptoms can also be attributed to other gastrointestinal conditions, do not ignore persistent or concerning signs that do not resolve on their own. If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms or have other concerns related to your digestive health, it is vital to consult with a gastroenterologist promptly. Remember, early detection and prompt treatment offer the best chance for successful outcomes in managing colon cancer. Regular screening and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to reducing the risk of developing colon cancer.

How can I contact gastroenterologist Dr. Zavos to arrange an appointment?

Dr. Chris Zavos is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, located in Thessaloniki Greece, and specifically in Kalamaria suburb, about 7 kilometres (4 miles) southeast of downtown Thessaloniki. His private office is at: Fanariou 8 street (near Aigaiou and Adrianoupoleos avenues), Kalamaria (Thessaloniki), Greece.

Thessaloniki International Airport is only 10 km away from his private office in Kalamaria and can be reached by taxi within 13 minutes from the airport.

Dr. Chris Zavos performs endoscopies at Bioclinic private hospital in downtown Thessaloniki (Mitropoleos 86 street).

You can contact Dr. Zavos at phone numbers: (+30)-6976596988 and (+30)-2311283833, or you can email him at Dr. Zavos responds to Greek and English languages.

Last update: 26 September 2023, 18:56


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group