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What are the symptoms of colon cancer?

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Many people with colon cancer don’t have symptoms. That’s why it is so important to keep up with routine screening tests. When the disease -- at any stage -- causes symptoms, they may include:

Other symptoms you have depend on where the cancer has spread.

  • Blood (usually dark red or black) in the stool
  • Constipation and diarrhea. These can also be symptoms of other, less serious conditions, such as a stomach virus. But if it doesn't stop quickly, see your doctor.
  • Long, thin, pencil-like stools. These are a sign that something is blocking your colon. The blockage could be a tumor or something else.
  • Fatigue and weakness. Feeling much more tired or weak than usual could be a sign that the tumor is bleeding and you've lost iron.
  • Abdominal pain or bloating. Colon tumors can cause a blockage that makes it hard to fully empty your bowels. You can feel bloated and full as a result.
  • Unexplained weight loss. A weight loss of 10 pounds or more when you haven't changed your diet and exercise habits, could be cancer, especially if you also have other colon cancer symptoms.
  • Nausea and vomiting, which may happen if the tumor causes an obstruction .

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Do we know why cancers metastasize to bones?" "Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy," "Reasons for delays in getting your biopsy and cytology test results," "Signs and Symptoms of Bone Metastases," "Signs and Symptoms of Cancer," "What is Metastatic Cancer?"

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis," "Reading a Pathology Report."

Beating Bowel Cancer: "Peritoneal metastases."

Cancer Research UK: "Bowel Cancer Symptoms," "Secondary Cancer in the Lung."

Cleveland Clinic: "Colorectal Cancer."

Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada: "Symptoms."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Colorectal Cancer That Has Spread to the Liver."

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "About Liver Metastases."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on September 17, 2019

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Do we know why cancers metastasize to bones?" "Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy," "Reasons for delays in getting your biopsy and cytology test results," "Signs and Symptoms of Bone Metastases," "Signs and Symptoms of Cancer," "What is Metastatic Cancer?"

American Society of Clinical Oncology: "Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis," "Reading a Pathology Report."

Beating Bowel Cancer: "Peritoneal metastases."

Cancer Research UK: "Bowel Cancer Symptoms," "Secondary Cancer in the Lung."

Cleveland Clinic: "Colorectal Cancer."

Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada: "Symptoms."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Colorectal Cancer That Has Spread to the Liver."

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "About Liver Metastases."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on September 17, 2019

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How can colon cancer spread?

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