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Warning signs of colorectal cancer in women

Fatigue, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea… caused by colorectal cancer are often confused with women’s menstrual symptoms.

Colorectal cancer is among the top 10 most common cancers worldwide. The risk of colorectal cancer is higher in men than in women.

In some people, colorectal cancer has no symptoms at first, and symptoms can vary depending on the size and location of the malignancy. The symptoms of colorectal cancer are often the same in both women and men, such as having a bowel movement that lasts more than a day, and stools that change in consistency over time.

Other early colorectal cancer symptoms include bloody stools, pain or cramping in the abdomen, unintended weight loss, weakness, and fatigue. When colorectal cancer progresses to the later stages, there are often other serious symptoms such as blood metastasis, cancer spreading to other organs, cancer causing bowel obstruction…

Colorectal cancer in American women is most often diagnosed around the age of 71. In the past, colorectal cancer affected older women who stopped menstruating. However, in recent years, colorectal cancer diagnosed in people under the age of 50 has been increasing. According to the American Cancer Society, from 2012-2016, the incidence of colorectal cancer in the country increased 2% per year in people under 50 years old and 1% per year in people 50-64 years old.

Symptoms of abdominal pain when having colorectal cancer in women are similar to menstrual cramps.  Photo: Freepik

Symptoms of abdominal pain when having colorectal cancer in women are similar to menstrual cramps. Image: Freepik

Colorectal cancer in women is easily confused with normal menstrual symptoms or other gynecological problems. Specifically, rectal cancer in women in the early stages has symptoms including changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, and constipation, which are also common during menstruation. In addition, the symptoms of abdominal cramps can be confused with menstrual pain, the feeling of fatigue caused by colorectal cancer is often thought to be a symptom of premenstrual syndrome. Some symptoms of colorectal cancer can resemble other menstrual cycle symptoms, such as bloating and cramping.

Women are more likely to develop colorectal cancer if:

Increasing age: The risk tends to increase significantly after age 50, although younger people can also get colorectal cancer.

Personal history of polyps: Women who have had benign polyps in the past face an increased risk of developing cancerous polyps.

Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps: Having a parent, sibling, or other relative with colorectal cancer or a history of polyps makes a woman more likely to develop colorectal cancer.

Radiation treatment: People who have had radiation therapy to treat cancers in the abdomen, including cervical cancer, have an increased risk of rectal cancer.

Unhealthy lifestyle: Being inactive or obese, smoking and drinking excessively can all increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Doctors recommend that women with risk factors or unusual changes in the menstrual cycle should have early colorectal cancer screening and regular screening. Even if you’re not old enough to be screened, but have risk factors for colorectal cancer, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor. To reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, women should maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and live a healthy life.

Mr. Chi (According to VeryWell Health, Healthline)

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