Cancer of the large intestine is known as colon cancer, or colorectal cancer. Colon cancer develops very slowly from noncancerous polyps.
At Dignity Health Central California, our oncologists provide screenings, including colonoscopy, to detect and help prevent colon cancer. If you would like to meet with a trusted oncologist about colon cancer symptoms in Central California, Find a Doctor with our online tool.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Because early stage colon cancer often presents no signs or symptoms, screening tests are critical.
When signs and symptoms of colon cancer develop, they may include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Very dark or bloody stool
- Tiredness or weakness
- Anemia, or low red blood cell count
- Feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, narrowing of the stool, or changes in consistency
Other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, may have similar symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your Dignity Health Central California doctor for a clear diagnosis.
Diagnosing Colon Cancer at Dignity Health Central California
Colon cancer is often diagnosed in early, highly treatable stages, with the help of screening tests. These tests, such as colonoscopy, often catch colon cancer before symptoms develop. Talk with your doctor about your options and when you should start screening.
Once you have symptoms your doctor may use the following tests and exams to diagnose colon cancer:
- Physical exam and medical history
- Blood tests, including tumor markers and a complete blood count (CBC)
- Colonoscopy to collect a biopsy or tissue sample.
- Imaging exams, including MRI scan, CT scan, PET scan, and ultrasound
A complete diagnosis, including the stage of colon cancer, helps your Dignity Health Central California doctor plan the most effective treatment and deliver the personal care you deserve.
At Dignity Health Central California our doctors diagnose the signs and symptoms of colon cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.