9th July 2023 – (Shanghai) A 27-year-old female office worker in China was shocked to discover that her excessive flatulence was actually a symptom of advanced colorectal cancer. The woman had been experiencing frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain, which she had attributed to spicy food. However, her symptoms persisted, and her parents convinced her to seek medical attention. After undergoing a colonoscopy and CT scan, she was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer.
While flatulence is a normal physiological phenomenon, excessive and persistent flatulence could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as colorectal cancer. According to Dr. Zhou Feng, deputy director of the Digestive Department at a hospital in Zhejiang Province, while having frequent flatulence does not necessarily indicate the presence of cancer, it is worth noting that in certain situations, colorectal cancer can cause an increase in the frequency of flatulence.
Dr. Zhou explained that some people with colorectal cancer may experience symptoms such as intestinal obstruction and constipation, which can lead to increased gas and frequent flatulence. The typical symptoms of colorectal cancer include abdominal pain, diarrhea, obvious weight loss, changes in bowel movements, and irregular bowel movements. If an individual only experiences an increase in flatulence without any other abnormal reactions, there is no need to be overly anxious.
However, Dr. Li Wenxia, an oncologist at the Beijing Cancer Hospital, warns that there are two types of flatulence that require special attention as they may indicate intestinal problems or even cancer. Foul-smelling flatulence may be due to the presence of undigested feces in the intestine or the breakdown of protein from undigested food. However, if an individual experiences a sudden change in the smell of their flatulence or if their flatulence has a particularly pungent odor, it is advisable to seek medical attention.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, and its incidence is increasing in many countries. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 1.8 million new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in 2018, with approximately 900,000 deaths. Early detection and treatment are crucial for improving the chances of survival and reducing the risk of complications.