6 Silent Symptoms of Colon Cancer You Might Be Missing

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You feel bloated or crampy

“If things are starting to get blocked and backed up in the colon, you may experience bloating,” says Randall F. Holcombe, MD, director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu, Hawaii If you’re feeling a little puffy or crampy, there are many other factors that may be to blame, but if stomach symptoms persist, see your doctor. If you start to notice a constant pain in the right side of your abdomen, that may mean the disease in the later stages and has spread to the liver, he says. (Check out these habits that help prevent colon cancer.)

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You have severe constipation

A bout of constipation here and there is probably nothing to worry about, but if it becomes severe and persistent, it could be one of the symptoms of colon cancer. “This is something that is suggestive of some sort of obstruction, and if it seems to be there all the time you should get it checked out,” says Dr. Holcombe. (Read up on the best foods that cleanse your colon.)

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You pass skinny stool

Pay attention to what’s in the toilet, even if you don’t see blood—it can reveal lesser-known colon cancer symptoms. If your stool shape is consistently very narrow or skinny when it was previously chunkier, that could point to a restriction in the colon caused by polyps, says Dr. Raymond. Persistent diarrhea may also be one of the symptoms of colon cancer. Here are 11 things your bowel movements reveal about health.