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Colorectal Cancer - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any symptoms of colorectal cancer, such as:

  • A change in bowel habits.
  • Bleeding from your rectum, including bright red or dark blood in your stools or stools that look black.
  • Constant or frequent diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely.
  • Stools that are narrow (may be as narrow as a pencil).
  • Belly pain or problems with gas or bloating.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Constant tiredness (fatigue).

Because colorectal cancer often doesn't cause any symptoms, talk with your doctor about screening tests. Screening helps doctors find a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear.

Recommended Related to Colorectal Cancer

Who is at Risk?

For the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person's risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of CRC. A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs...

Read the Who is at Risk? article > >

Who to see

Health professionals who can evaluate your symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

If your doctor thinks you may have colorectal cancer, he or she may advise you to see a general surgeon or a colorectal surgeon. Colorectal cancer is treated by surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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