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Rectal Cancer Symptoms

Rectal cancer often does not have symptoms in the early stages. When it does have symptoms, they vary from person to person. Most rectal cancers begin as polyps, small non-cancerous growths on the rectum wall that can grow larger and become cancer.

Symptoms of rectal cancer may include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool or toilet after a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea or constipation that does not go away
  • A change in size or shape of your stool
  • Discomfort or urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need
  • Abdominal pain or a cramping pain in your lower stomach
  • Bloating or full feeling
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss without dieting
  • Fatigue

These symptoms do not always mean you have rectal cancer. But if you notice one or more of these signs for more than two weeks, see your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with rectal cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Minimally invasive and sphincter-preserving surgeries for rectal cancer
  • Advanced radiotherapy including proton therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Novel chemotherapy and targeted therapies for rectal cancer
  • Leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy including endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoluminal stent placement
  • Clinical trials for all stages of rectal cancers

Rectal Cancer Knowledge Center

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