Prevention & Early Detection

Text Size A A

E-Mail to a Friend






secret  Click to Play Audio


Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Signs and symptoms are clues that something may be wrong in your body. A sign is something you see, such as blood in your stool. A symptom is usually something you feel, like pain in your abdomen. 

Most people don’t have signs or symptoms of colon or rectal cancer early on. That’s why it’s important to have regular colorectal cancer screenings, which can detect cancer at early stages. Research shows that when colorectal cancer is detected early, a patient has a greater chance of being cured.

Cancer that starts in different areas of the colon or in the rectum may cause different signs and symptoms. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, let your doctor know:

  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • An ongoing bloated feeling, cramping, or pain in your abdomen 
  • Constant tiredness and weakness 
  • A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation, narrow stools, or feeling that your bowel does not empty completely 
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that doesn’t go away, even after going to the bathroom 
  • Bright red or very dark blood in your stool or bleeding from your rectum 
  • Low level of red blood cells (anemia) for no known reason

Usually these signs or symptoms are caused by other conditions, like infections, hemorrhoids, or inflammatory bowel disease, not cancer. Your doctor can help you figure out just what is causing your symptoms.