How does colon cancer affect the body?

Jill Onesti, MD
Surgical Oncology
Colon cancer affects the body by preventing adequate passage of stool or causing disruption in the absorption of nutrients and water. It may cause pain in your abdomen, which causes you to eat less and lose weight. If enough blood is passed through your stools, blood tests may reveal anemia or low hemoglobin levels. You may notice fatigue. If colon cancer spreads to other areas of your body, you may develop symptoms related to that spread. If it has spread to your bones, you may have bone pain in that region. If you are having difficulties with urination, it may be affecting your bladder or, in men, your prostate.
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UCLA Health

Colon cancer can cause a person to feel tired or weak, lose weight, and have general discomfort in their digestive system and bowel movements. In the later stages of colon cancer, the cancer can spread beyond the rectum into other parts of the body. In stage III colon cancer, the lymph nodes that reside nearby are infected. In the final stage of colon cancer, stage IV, the cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver or lungs.

Continue Learning about Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer

Caused by growths that turn malignant, colon cancer develops slowly over several years.The cancer begins when precancerous growths called adenomatous polyps form in the tissues of the colon, which makes up the lower part of our di...

gestive system. Polyps can be detected through colon screenings. A colonoscopy uses a thin, lighted tube to search for polyps, cancer and abnormal areas in the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is recommended at least every 10 years, starting at the age of 45 for African-Americans who are at greater risk for the cancer and at 50 for other races. Your risk for colon cancer increases if you have had previous cancers, a family history of colon or rectal cancers, or have ulcerative colitis. See your doctor if you have rectal bleeding, notice changes in your bowel movements or have unexplained weight loss. To prevent colon cancer, get screened as recommended by your doctor, maintain a healthy diet, exercise often and quit smoking if you currently do.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.