Colon cancer in men: 7 symptoms to watch for

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Colon cancer, a leading type of cancer in men, often begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps inside the colon. Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancers.

This disease is particularly insidious because it can develop with little to no symptoms in its early stages. However, recognizing the signs can lead to early detection, which significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.

This review focuses on seven symptoms of colon cancer in men, explained in an accessible way for everyone to understand.

  1. Changes in Bowel Habits

One of the first signs men might notice is a change in bowel habits. This could include constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the consistency of stool that lasts for more than a few days. While occasional bowel movement changes are normal, persistent alterations should not be ignored.

  1. Blood in the Stool

Seeing blood in the stool can be alarming. The presence of bright red blood or very dark stools may indicate bleeding in the colon or rectum. While hemorrhoids can also cause blood in the stool, it’s essential to have any bleeding checked out by a doctor to rule out cancer.

  1. Persistent Abdominal Discomfort

Abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, or pain, can be symptoms of many conditions, including colon cancer.

If these symptoms persist, especially if accompanied by a feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely or you have unexplained stomach pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider.

  1. A Feeling that the Bowel Doesn’t Empty Completely

If you often feel like you still need to pass stool after you’ve had a bowel movement, it could be a sign of colon cancer. This sensation, known as tenesmus, might be accompanied by discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen.

  1. Weakness or Fatigue

Unexplained weakness or fatigue can be a sign of many different conditions, including colon cancer. Cancer can cause fatigue for a variety of reasons, including internal bleeding that’s not obvious, which can lead to anemia and a consequent feeling of tiredness or weakness.

  1. Unexplained Weight Loss

Losing weight without trying might seem like a welcome event, but it can indicate a serious health issue, including colon cancer. If you’re losing weight without changes to your diet or exercise habits, it’s time to see a doctor.

  1. Iron-deficiency Anemia

Men are less likely than women to have iron-deficiency anemia. So, if tests show low iron levels without any apparent reason, it could be a sign of hidden bleeding in the colon or rectum, possibly from a cancerous polyp.

The Importance of Screening

Early colon cancer often has no symptoms, which is why screening is so important. Screening can detect polyps before they become cancerous, or find colon cancer early when it’s easier to treat. Current guidelines recommend that men at average risk for colon cancer start regular screening at age 45.


Colon cancer in men can be silent, but being aware of the key symptoms can lead to earlier detection and treatment.

Changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, a sensation of incomplete bowel emptying, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and iron-deficiency anemia are all signs that should prompt a visit to the doctor.

Remember, when it comes to colon cancer, the power of prevention and early detection cannot be overstated. Regular screenings and being mindful of changes in your body are crucial steps in staying healthy.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about Research shows a surprising cause of cancer and findings of The surprising impact of anxiety drugs on pancreatic cancer survival.

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