In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women combined.
 
Women have only a slightly lower chance of developing colon cancer than men. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women.
 
Women might shrug off early warning signs such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, or bleeding during bowel movements, attributing such symptoms to menstrual issues or hemorrhoids. 
 
“I encourage women to pay attention to any signals their bodies might be sending them,” explains Dr. Page Axley. “If a pain seems different from what you’ve experienced before or lasts longer than a typical menstrual cycle, talk to your doctor.”
 
While early-stage colon cancer may not produce obvious symptoms, some warning signs might include:

 

  • Change in bowel habits (chronic diarrhea or constipation, etc.)
  • Bloody, dark, or narrow stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Persistent abdominal pain, fullness, cramping and bloating
  • Anemia (iron deficiency)
  • Unexplained weight loss
 
“Now that colorectal cancer is more commonly seen in younger patients, we encourage everyone to get screened starting at age 45, no matter their gender,” says Dr. Lauren Bleich. “Those with a family history of cancer or other health factors may need to begin screening even earlier.”
 
If you have questions or concerns about colon cancer, or other digestive health issues, talk to a gastroenterologist.

 

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Tags Colorectal (Colon) Cancer, Colonoscopy

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