Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in Malaysia and it’s also one of the primary causes of death in Malaysia, affecting both men and women.
While some CRC is caused by hereditary factors, a vast majority of cases are attributed to a poor lifestyle – not eating enough fruits and vegetables, not exercising enough, too much consumption of red meat and use of tobacco and alcohol.
Like all cancers, colorectal cancer is best treated when its caught early. Learning how to recognise symptoms of CRC is necessary so you can consult your doctor as soon as possible – especially when several symptoms are present. CRC is treatable when it is diagnosed early.
Signs and symtoms of colorectal cancer include…
Unexplained weight loss
If you are not trying to lose weight and you noticed a drastic shift in weight loss, it’s best to speak to your doctor right away. Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Cancer cells use up a lot of our body’s energy supply. Moreover, our immune system goes into overdrive to help fight the disease, which can result in unexplained weight loss.
Weakness or fatique
Similar to unexplained weight loss, one might feel constantly tired due to our body’s way of fighting the cancer cells that has invaded our system. Fatigue can also be contributed to internal blood loss from the disease. Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common side effects of colorectal cancer. The fatigue may come on suddenly and is not relieved by rest or sleep.
Persistent cramps & pain
We all get abdominal discomfort from time to time but abdominal pain such as cramps, gas or pain that is persistent, severe and long lasting may be a sign of colorectal cancer that warrants a check-up.
Change in bowel habits
Our toilet habits reveal a lot about our health. Prolonged change in your regular toilet habits such as irregular bowel movements from frequency to consistency (diarrhoea or constipation) especially if there is no stress or change in the environment (pregnancy, travel, change of job), should not be taken lightly.
Blood in stool
Sometimes, red spots may appear but other times, stools appear very dark or black, a sign that that blood has dried up. Blood in stool have various causes such as haemorrhoids or anal tear from straining against hard stools. In the case of CRC, it can signal a problem in the digestive tract. Blood in stool may not be visible to the naked eye and can only be detected via a Stool Test Kit, also known as Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT).
Colorectal cancer is generally treatable and curable when detected early. Do pay attention to your body and monitor the way your body functions. Knowledge is power and empowers you to take action by consulting with your doctor as soon as possible for those who think they are at risk.
Gut Health Assessment & Free Stool Test Kit
All diseases begin the gut. For those who want to know more about their gut health, VITAGEN Healthy Digestive Programme under the brand’s gut health initiative, has teamed up with local gut health experts, to develop an online gut health assessment that’s available to the public.
You can also request for a FREE Stool Test Kit – also known as Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). It’s primarily used to check for hidden blood in the stool. This lab test device can be used to diagnose early signs of colorectal cancer. Lower your risk of colorectal cancer and find out more about your gut health today at: /gut-health-assessment