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Colon Cancer Symptoms

Since early colorectal cancers may not show any symptoms, it is critical to have your routine screening done.

People with colorectal cancer may notice one or more of these symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool, that takes place for more than a few days.
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Blood in the stool, which may cause the stool to look dark.
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Unintended weight loss.

Bleeding can occur from colorectal cancers. In people with colorectal cancer, blood loss can build up and lead to low red blood cell counts (anemia). In some instances, the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test showing a low red blood cell count.

Many of the symptoms associated with colorectal cancer are more often caused by something other than colorectal cancer, such as an infection, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. If you have any of these problems, see your physician so that the cause can be identified and treated.