What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Common symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • An ongoing change in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely)
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool (poop)
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or abdominal cramps
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Feeling very tired (weakness and fatigue)

These symptoms can vary based on the person. The signs and symptoms will also differ in severity based on the cancer’s location in the colon, size and growth. Some signs are mostly noticeable through changes with your digestive tract, but others can impact your entire body. Check with your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, regardless of your age.

Risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average

  • People aged 50 and older
  • People who smoke
  • People who are overweight or obese, especially those who carry fat around their waists
  • People who aren’t physically active
  • People who drink alcohol in excess, especially men
  • People who eat a lot of red meat (such as beef, pork or lamb) or processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs or cold cuts)
  • People with personal or family histories of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
  • People with personal histories of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • People with a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
  • Ureterocolic anastomosis.
  • Long-term immunosuppression following organ transplantation, especially renal transplantation. The relative risk is the same as that of the normal population, but aged 20-30 years older.
  • Diabetes mellitus associated with insulin resistance: this is linked to the long-term effects of insulin-like growth factors
  • Use of androgen deprivation therapy, e.g. Orchiectomy and gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues.
  • History of radiation therapy for prostate cancer
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about when to start screening, which test is right for you, and how often you should be tested.

Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Related Links

What is colorectal cancer
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer
What tests are performed to diagnose colorectal cancer
How is colorectal cancer treated