What are the main symptoms of colorectal cancer?

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John L. Marshall, MD
A very common question I get asked all the time is, "What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?" The reality is for a lot of people there are no symptoms. They don't notice really anything, and they get caught by some other problem.

John L. Marshall, MD (Continued)
There are a few key things to look out for. One is of course any change in your bowel habits. That could be a little blood in the stool, a sense of constipation, or maybe even a change in the shape of your stool. Some folks will present with fatigue, just tiredness, maybe shortness of breath. The problem is that they are probably losing a little bit of blood, not enough to where they can see the blood is coming out but they sort of lose a little by little. They get iron deficient and that makes them anemic. The last and probably the most common of the bunch is some sort of vague abdominal pain. Along with that can come some weight loss. This really is just something is not right in my belly.

John L. Marshall, MD (Continued)
We have seen a shift in younger folks getting colorectal cancer. It used to be thought of that this was a disease in the over 50 crowd. Well, in the United States at least we're seeing an increase in the under 50 crowd. So, these are symptoms not just for the old folks so to speak, like me, but also that younger group that might be having early signs of colorectal cancer. Know your body and check it out. If any of these symptoms come up, go see your doctor.