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What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Posted on March 5, 2018

Nurse holding senior citizen's hand

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death in the United States. With screening, polyps can be found and removed before they become cancer. 

People with colorectal cancer often do not have symptoms right away. By the time symptoms occur, the cancer may have grown or spread to other organs. This can make it harder to treat. That’s why routine colorectal cancer screening is important.

Symptoms can include:

  • A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling that your bowel is not empty after a bowel movement

  • Bright red or very dark blood in your stool

  • Constant tiredness

  • Stools that are thinner than usual

  • Stools that look slimy or have mucous on them

  • Ongoing gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Vomiting

When to see your healthcare provider

These symptoms can be caused by colorectal cancer or a number of different health conditions. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above. 

In addition, current guidelines from the ACS state that people of average risk should begin screening at age 50. If you are at a higher risk, you may need to be screened earlier. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best path of prevention.

Need help finding a doctor? LeConte Medical Center can help you locate a physician. And, if needed, we are here for you from follow up surgery to cancer care.