The cecum connects the large intestine and the small intestine. While most colorectal cancers arise in the far end of the colon, the rectum and sigmoid colon, the cecum is the next most common site for cancer to arise, according to the Surgical Practice of Northern New Jersey. Over 95 percent of colorectal cancer are adenocarcimonas, which often start as polyps, the American Cancer Society explains. Symptoms of cecum carcinoma vary from symptoms of other cancers due to the location.
Because tumors in the cecum often ulcerate and bleed, anemia, or low hemoglobin levels related to blood loss, can occur as a symptom of cecal carcinoma. Blood loss is occult, meaning not visible with the naked eye, and is diagnosed by testing a small stool sample for minute traces of blood. Anemia can lead to fatigue, weakness and pallor.
The cecum, a pouchlike structure, lies very close to the appendix. Cecal carcinoma can cause appendicitis or appendicitis-like symptoms in some cases, reports lead author Irene Fiume in the 2006 issue of the World Journal of Emergency Surgery. What appears to be appendicitis is actually carcinoma in 1.8 to 8 percent of all cases initially diagnosed as appendicitis, and it occurs more frequently in the elderly. Perforation of the cecal cancer can allow cancer cells to reach and block the opening of the appendix. Appendicitis and subsequent rupture of the appendix can occur from chronic obstruction of the opening of the appendix.
Like other colorectal cancers, carcinoma of the cecum can also cause bowel symptoms. Because the cecum attaches to the small intestine, where stool is mostly liquid, bowel obstruction rarely occurs unless the tumor grows very large. Bowel symptoms that can occur in patients with cecal carcinoma include abdominal pain, constipation, weight loss, loss of appetite and vomiting, notes Santosh Kumar Mondal of the Department of Pathology, Medical College, Kolkata, India in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics.
- Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics: Primary Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Cecum; Santosh Kumar Mondal Department of Pathology, Medical College, Kolkata, India
- World Journal of Emergency Surgery:ecum Cancer Underlying Appendicular Abscess; Irene Fiume; 2006
- American Cancer Society: What is Colorectal Cancer?
- Merck Manual: Colorectal Cancer
- General Surgery Practice of Northern New Jersey: Colon Cancer