Seeing blood on the toilet paper, in your toilet bowl, or in your stool can make anyone worried. Since hemorrhoids and colon cancer can cause similar symptoms, don’t panic. Hemorrhoids are much more common. So is it hemorrhoids or colon cancer? How to tell the difference.
Hemorrhoids And Their Symptoms
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the rectum and anus. They grow larger and become irritated and inflamed causing pain, itching, and bleeding. They can develop inside or outside the anus and are quite common with ½ of adults developing them before age 50.
Risk factors include pregnancy, sitting for long periods, having constipation or diarrhea, and from lifting heavy objects.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include the following:
- Rectal bleeding
- Discomfort and lumps around the anus
Symptoms of hemorrhoids are usually intermittent, but they don’t tend to get worse, and they don’t cause weight loss or cause colon cancer.
Colorectal Cancer And Its Symptoms
Colon cancer is a serious condition that starts in the large intestine or rectum, and it is known as colorectal cancer. It is more common in seniors, and they develop from cancerous polyps that grow inside the colon. Not all polyps will turn cancerous, but identifying and removing them is the best way to prevent colon cancer.
The screening tests for colon cancer are necessary for all adults starting at age 45 or earlier for those with a higher risk.
Increased risk factors include someone over the age of 45, with a family history of colorectal cancer, and being current or past smoker.
Common symptoms of colon cancer include the following:
- A change in bowel habits like frequent diarrhea or constipation
- Weight loss which is unintended
- Excessive fatigue
- Blood in stool
- Abdominal pain like gas or cramps
- Inability to empty bowels
- Tarry black stools
The First Step
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first step is to see proctologist Aaron B. Parrish, MD in San Jose, CA and get a proper diagnosis. Don’t wait because you assume it is just hemorrhoids.
Current survival rates for colon cancer are very high with early diagnosis and treatment.
You can reduce your risk of both hemorrhoids and colon cancer by eating a healthy diet with fiber and water, regular exercise, and seeing your doctor for checkups and screenings.
Contact Dr. Parrish with the onset of any of these symptoms.