There are many signs of colorectal cancer in women, the most common being changes in bowel movements, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and weight loss. Other symptoms may depend on the size of the tumors involved. Larger tumors may produce pain and swelling of the abdomen.
Colorectal cancer can affect any part of the colon, which stretches from the small bowel to the rectum. Cancer occurs when the cells in the colon change and begin to reproduce abnormally. If the signs of colorectal cancer in women are not noticed and treated, these cells will spread quickly throughout the colon. The cancer may also spread through the walls of the colon and affect other organs in the body.
Rectal bleeding is one of the most common early signs of colorectal cancer in women. Most women do not recognize this as a symptom of cancer though, and it is often mistaken for bleeding hemorrhoids. At times, this problem may also be mistaken for iron deficiency anemia.
Weight loss and fatigue are common signs of colorectal cancer in women. People tend to burn far more calories because of a cancerous tumor, so they begin to lose weight. Fatigue sometimes occurs because of the weight loss, but may also occur because of the bleeding of the rectum. Paleness is also a noted symptom that is often present with fatigue.
Bowel movements often change when a women has colon cancer. She may experience constipation or constipation that can not be explained by any normal means. Changes in the consistency of daily bowel movements may also sometimes be one of the signs of colorectal cancer in women. Most commonly, if such changes are indicative of colorectal cancer in women, they will be sudden and lasting, and may worsen over time.
Often, a woman with colorectal cancer will experience a constant sensation of fullness in her bowels. This may persist even immediately after a bowel movement. Other symptoms that may be present include gas, bloating, and nausea. Some women experience vomiting as well. Cramping may occur, especially when a woman is trying to go to the bathroom. Many of these symptoms are caused by the tumor blocking off part of the colon.
When a tumor is not caught early, it has a chance of growing. When this occurs, the abdomen may become distended. Abdominal pain is another one of the signs of colorectal cancer in women and may accompany a growing tumor.