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What Are the Common Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

If you've recently been diagnosed with colon cancer, you're probably wondering if you had any recognizable symptoms when the condition first developed. In the earliest stages of colon cancer, however, the most recognizable signs are usually absent. But as colon cancer progresses, several notable symptoms could develop and affect more systems in your body. The cancer team at Tampa General Hospital can help you identify and understand the early- and late-stage symptoms associated with colon cancer.

Early-Stage Colon Cancer Symptoms

Some of the symptoms that are usually associated with the early stages of colon cancer include:

  • Changes in your bowel habits that last longer than a few days, such as:

    • Constipation

    • Diarrhea

    • Changes in the consistency of stool

    • Changes in stool shape or size

  • Abdominal cramps or stomach pain
  • Feeling bloated or gassy for long periods of time

Late-Stage Colon Cancer Symptoms

As colon cancer progresses, some of the late-stage symptoms become systemic, which means they can affect your entire body. You may experience:

  • A feeling that your bowels are not empty
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These symptoms may not necessarily mean you have colon cancer, but it’s important that you discuss any abnormal symptoms you have with a medical professional who can perform tests to find out what is causing the symptoms then determine a proper diagnosis.

In general, the earlier a cancer is detected, the more treatment options you'll have available to you. Although symptoms might be absent in the first stages of colon cancer, the disease can still be detected through medical screening processes, such as a colonoscopy. This is why all people over the age of 50–as well as others with medical conditions that place them at greater risk of developing colon cancer, such as bleeding hemorrhoids–should have regular imaging and laboratory testing completed. 

Why Tampa General Hospital?

Tampa General Hospital provides a wide array of treatment options for colon cancer. Through our multidisciplinary approach, our team of physicians, surgeons, radiologists, gastroenterologists, and other cancer specialists provide comprehensive care, along with individualized cancer care. Thanks to our affiliation with the University of South Florida, TGH is third-highest enroller of patients in multi-center clinical trials and is able to provide other medical interventions when necessary to treat any additional diseases you may have. At TGH, your treatment plan will truly be tailored to your specific needs.

Additionally, we often use minimally invasive robotically assisted or laparoscopic approaches during surgical interventions to improve overall outcomes for you while reducing the risks associated with the treatment. This is just one of the ways our team will ensure the best possible quality of life for you. 

Please use our Physician Finder tool to find a colon cancer physician or call (813) 844-2200.