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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:

Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Find out more about colorectal cancer:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

  • 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

 

Call Your Doctor About Colorectal Cancer if:

  • You notice a change in your bowel movements, experience bleeding from the rectum, or notice blood in or on your stool. Don't assume you have hemorrhoids; your doctor will most likely perform a rectal exam, possibly a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy -- an exam that involves a long flexible tube inserted in your rectum. 
  • You experience persistent abdominal pain, unusual weight loss, or fatigue. These symptoms may be due to other causes, but they could also be linked to cancer.
  • You are diagnosed with anemia. In determining its cause, your doctor should check for bleeding from the digestive tract because of colorectal cancer.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 12, 2014
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