In 2005, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 72,007 men diagnosed with colon cancer, and of them, 26,781 succumbed. A colonoscopy provides the best means of early detection, but knowing signs and symptoms of colon cancer in men can be helpful, even lifesaving.
Colon cancer may cause intestinal blockage, which occurs when the intestinal contents get stuck. For example, something may physically block the bowel, preventing intestinal contents from passing through. Or, without blockage, the bowel may simply fail to function properly.
With intestinal obstruction, colon cancer patients will commonly feel pain during bowel movements.
Colon cancer may cause abdominal pain. Doctors stress, however, that its intensity does not indicate the cancer's development. Colon cancer may reach advanced stages and cause only mild abdominal pain or no pain at all.
Colon cancer may cause two different types of abnormal stools. The first, melena, has a tarry black color, and the second, hematochezia, has a reddish color. Colon cancer generally causes hematochezia because, as cancer spreads, it forms polyps. Polyps are little bumps on the colon's surface, and they tend to leak blood into a patient's stool.
Changed Bowel Habits
Colon cancer may cause changed bowel habits, including diarrhea. In medical terminology, diarrhea is any watery, loose, frequent stool. Most cases of diarrhea are mild and go away quickly, though chronic diarrhea lasts for a month or longer. Diarrhea lasting for four days may require medical attention.
Patients may also experience constipation or another change in their bowel habits.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Colon cancer may cause unexplained weight loss. As opposed to intentional weight loss, which results from dieting or exercise, unexplained weight loss is against the patient's will. Along with weight loss, colon cancer patients may additionally experience a loss of appetite, sleeplessness, persistent fatigue, as well as frustration, anger and sadness.