10 Surprising Signs Of Colon Cancer


Perhaps the scariest thing about cancer is how it can sneak up on us. Despite that, most people don’t realize how much they are at risk for things like colon cancer.

And to make things even scarier, the American Cancer Society reports that more people in their 20s and 30s are now developing colon cancer. Nobody knows exactly what is causing this rise in cases, but we do know that 105,000 Americans contracted colon cancer in 2020 alone.

Like other forms of cancer, colon cancer can be more easily and effectively treated the earlier you detect it. But this can be difficult because some of the warning signs are very surprising! To help keep you and your family safe, we have rounded up the most surprising signs of colon cancer.

1. Anemia

Have you ever experienced anemia before? This is the condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. While many things can potentially cause anemia, its presence may be an early warning sign of colon cancer.

This occurs because the tumors growing inside your body are affecting red blood cell production. And having anemia leads to its own side effects that also serve as colon cancer warning signs.

RELATED: 17 Warning Signs You May Have Diabetes

2. Blood in your stool

One of the scariest things that can happen is that you encounter blood in your stool. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what causes this or why it can be a warning sign of colon cancer.

It’s possible, of course, that bloody stool is being caused by things like anal fissures or hemorrhoids. But if you have eliminated these possibilities, your body is likely to have colon cancer. When the tumors in your body create ulcers that seep blood, you can sometimes detect this blood within your stool.

3. Major fatigue

Have you been getting unexpectedly tired lately? This could be due to numerous illnesses or even just advancing age. But major fatigue can also be a major warning sign of colon cancer.

How does that work? It all goes back to the symptoms that we covered earlier. The combination of anemia and rectal bleeding can lead to a feeling of exhaustion that won’t go away. If no amount of rest makes the fatigue go away, you should treat this as a serious warning sign.

RELATED: 10 Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

4. Changing bowel movements

You have probably figured out that some of these warning signs are simpler and subtler than others. For example, one warning sign is simply that your bowel movements are changing in unexpected ways.

This may manifest in bouts of unexpected and otherwise unexplained diarrhea. Alternatively, you may experience unwanted bouts of constipation. But instead of just going to the pharmacy to buy things like stool softeners or laxatives, you should schedule a colon cancer screening.

5. Abdominal pain

Sometimes, the warning signs of colon cancer aren’t actually visible. Instead, they are something that you feel within your body. And that includes long-lasting abdominal pain.

If the pain is short and severe, this is more likely to be a sign that you have a tear or perforation within your bowels. But if the pain continues, it may be a sign that tumors are now growing inside your body.

RELATED: 10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Lack Sleep

6. Strange-looking stool

It’s not exactly the stuff of polite dinner conversation. But one of the more reliable signs of colon cancer is that your stool looks weirder than it normally does.

For example, your stool may look very thin. Alternatively, it may look very discolored. This can manifest as stool that is overly red (thanks to internal bleeding) or even black (thanks to dried blood). Just as you should take bloody stool as a serious warning sign, you should also take discolored stool seriously. 

7. Sudden weight loss

As we get older, most of us would love to mysteriously start losing weight. But most of the time, sudden and unexplained weight loss is actually a warning sign of something more serious.

Different symptoms of colon cancer can potentially cause weight loss, but this mostly comes from a loss of appetite. Researchers don’t know exactly why this is, but many who develop colon cancer just aren’t as hungry as they used to be.

It’s easy to ignore a loss of appetite for a time. But if you see the number suddenly getting smaller on your scale, then you need to see your doctor.

RELATED: 17 Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer

8. Nausea and vomiting

We have put together a list of surprising signs of colon cancer. However, some of these signs are not that surprising once you sit back and think of it.

For example, plenty of people with colon cancer develop nausea and begin frequently vomiting. The reason for this is simple: when things are causing pain in your stomach, it can easily lead to nausea and vomiting. This is particularly true for those who have sensitive stomachs.

9. Rectal pain

You might have spent your entire life joking about things that are a “pain in the butt.” However, actual rectal pain is a likely sign that you have colon cancer.

If you are experiencing this kind of pain, it may indicate you have a tumor within your rectum. And in addition to causing direct pain, this leads to our final warning sign: difficulty pooping!

RELATED: 12 Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer

10. Difficulty pooping

You may have noticed that some of our warning signs involve analyzing your stool after the fact. But one of the bigger warning signs is that you have significant difficulty pooping in the first place.

Unsurprisingly, a tumor within your rectum effectively blocks the passage, making it very difficult for you to go to the bathroom. If you’re having trouble going “number two” and there are no other explanations readily apparent, you should consider this a warning sign of colon cancer.