Question

Colon Cancer

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

A Answers (16)

  • ACedrek L. McFadden, MD, Colon / Rectal Surgery, answered on behalf of Greenville Health System

    The symptoms of colorectal cancer can include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, or even an unintentional weight loss. However, some patients experience no symptoms at all. That is why screenings are generally recommended beginning at age 50.

  • AJon A. Horine, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Menorah Medical Center
    Often there are no symptoms of colorectal cancer, which is why screening is started at a certain age. Symptoms can include bleeding, anemia, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. Through screening it's possible to lower the cancer rates and, most importantly, lower the colorectal death rate.
  • AHealthwise answered

    Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually doesn't cause any symptoms. Symptoms occur later, when the cancer may be harder to treat. The most common symptoms include:

    • Pain in the belly.
    • Blood in your stool or very dark stools.
    • A change in your bowel habits. (You may have more frequent stools or a feeling that your bowels aren't emptying completely).
    • Constant tiredness (fatigue).
    • In rare cases, unexplained weight loss.


    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit Healthwise.org

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • ARichard Carter, MD, General Surgery, answered on behalf of Henrico Doctors' Hospital - HCA Virginia
    In its early stage, colorectal cancer usually produces no symptoms. Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. Some important warning signs include:
    • Any notable change in bowel movement consistency or frequency
    • Dark or light blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
    • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
    • Unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • APenn Medicine answered

    The colon is the largest part of the large intestine, also known as the large bowel. The colon's function is to change liquid waste into solid waste and prepare it to be expelled from the body.

    Symptoms of colon cancer include:

    • Bleeding from the rectum
    • Blood (bright red or very dark) in the stool or toilet after a bowel movement
    • A change, or narrowing of the stool
    • Cramping or pain in the abdomen
    • Feeling the need to have a bowel movement, but not having one
    • Excessive fatigue
    • Frequent gas, bloating or feeling of fullness
    • Weight loss for no known reason
    • Nausea and vomiting

    Rectal cancer is cancerous tissue that grows along and invades the wall of the rectum. Rectal cancer and colon cancer are very similar and share many common features. The difference in location creates important differences in how each is treated. Rectal cancer, like colon cancer, may start as a polyp that becomes cancerous.

    Symptoms of rectal cancer include:

    • Change in bowel habits including: diarrhea, constipation, feeling that the bowel has not completely emptied, stools that are narrow in shape
    • Bright red or dark blood in the stool
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Change in appetite
    • Losing weight without dieting
    • Fatigue
  • ALawrence Friedman, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer in both men and women, with an estimated 143,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Early on, colon cancer causes no symptoms. Later, its symptoms can be similar to those of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) -- abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas pains, and a change in bowel patterns. In addition, blood in the stool or rectal bleeding is often present. Advanced cancer is likely to cause bloody bowel movements, severe constipation if the intestine is obstructed, and weight loss. Thus, it's vital to get checked without delay should these symptoms occur.

    The good news is that most cases of colon cancer can be prevented through screening. Almost all precancerous growths (polyps) can be spotted and removed during a colonoscopy. Early-stage, localized colon cancers are curable by surgery in 90% of cases.
  • AAlex Ky-Miyasaka, MD, Surgery, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System

    Very often, a lot of patients have trouble believing they have colorectal cancer because they do NOT have any symptoms. For others, they might have abdominal pain, bloating, change in bowel habit or weight loss. Unfortunately with symptoms, their cancer might already be advance. Another non-specific symptom might be bleeding. Since there we don't know if someone is constipated or have a colon cancer, it is advisable to see your doctor for any changes or concerns and to schedule a colonoscopy by age 50.

  • AGood In Bed answered
    Colon cancer shows up in the tissues of the colon, while rectal cancer shows up in the tissues of the rectum. Worried you might have it? Symptoms to look out for include bloody stools; cramping, bloating, and gas pains; abdominal pain; diarrhea or constipation; chronic fatigue; and other symptoms of anemia (due to intestinal bleeding).

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  • ARichard Billingham, MD, Colon / Rectal Surgery, answered on behalf of Swedish
    The symptoms of colorectal cancer are bleeding, constipation, and general changes in the bowel movement. Yet, in most cases, there are no symptoms for colorectal cancer, which is why for the average risk individual should have a regular colonoscopy starting at the age of 50.
  • A common symptom of colorectal cancer is a change in bowel habits. Symptoms include:

    • Having diarrhea or constipation
    • Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
    • Finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
    • Finding your stools are narrower than usual
    • Frequently having gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated Losing  weight with no known reason
    • Feeling very tired all the time
    • Having nausea or vomiting

    Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Other health problems can cause the same symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

    Usually, early cancer does not cause pain. It is important not to wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor.

    This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

  • Some individuals with colorectal cancer (colon cancer) have no symptoms, while other do. Symptoms of colorectal cancer may resemble other conditions, so always consult your physician if you experience any of the following:

    - A change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, frequency of bowel movements, or narrowing of the stool that continues for more than a few days
    - Rectal bleeding or traces of blood in the stool
    - Stomach pain, cramping, or stomach discomfort
    - Fatigue and weakness
    - Decreased appetite and weight loss
    - Jaundice (yellow-colored skin or eyes)
    - Enlarged abdomen
    - Feeling of discomfort in the pelvic area

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • Symptoms of colorectal cancer include a recent change in bowel habits, blood in the stool, weight loss, fatigue, anemia and abdominal pain. People with colorectal cancer may have any combination of the above symptoms or have no symptoms at all. Often, early stages of colorectal cancer can be detected with screening colonoscopy before the person ever experiences any symptoms. The symptoms of colorectal cancer can be vague and could be due to another medical condition, so it is always wise to check with your primary care doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
  • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don't always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include:
    • Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
    • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away.
    • Losing weight and you don't know why.
    These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you're having any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

    The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.
  • AAurora Health Care answered
    Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum, both of which make up the large bowel) is most curable when found before it causes symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they might include:
    • Changes in bowel habits
    • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool (bright red or very dark)
    • Abdominal (stomach) cramps or frequent gas pains or bloating
    • Unexplained weight loss or fatigue
  • ASteven Gurland, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of MDLIVE
    The first sign of colon cancer is traces of blood found in the stool. As the cancer grows symptoms of changing bowel habits occur usually constipation. abdominal pain is associated with signs of obstruction. If not treated early it will spread and then numerous systemic symptoms can occur.
  • APatrick Maguire, MD, Oncology, answered
    The majority of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) initially present to medical attention with complaints of bleeding or pain. Some patients complain to their doctors of general fatigue or tiredness and are found to be anemic, due to slow, long-term blood loss into the bowel which sometimes can't be seen in the stool. The symptoms of colon cancer may depend on the location of the primary tumor within the specific area of the colon. Patients who have locally advanced disease at the outset may complain of pain with bowel movements or difficulty passing their stools due to mechanical obstruction by the tumor.
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