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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Colorectal Cancer Overview

Colon cancer and cancer of the rectum can begin as a small polyp, detectable through regular cancer screening, such as colonoscopy. Colon cancer symptoms include a change in bowel habits or bleeding, but often there are no symptoms. With early detection, surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy can be effective treatment.

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Large study finds supplements no better than placebo at warding off recurring polyps

Understanding Colorectal Cancer -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

In its early stage, colorectal cancer usually produces no symptoms. The most likely warning signs include:

  • Changes in bowel movements, including persistent constipation or diarrhea, a feeling of not being able to empty the bowel completely, an urgency to move the bowels, rectal cramping, or rectal bleeding
  • Dark patches of blood in or on stool; or long, thin, "pencil stools"
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • Unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, and/or weight loss
  • Pelvic pain, which occurs at later stages of the disease

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