Colorectal cancer usually starts off in small polyps (overgrowth of tissue) in the colon or rectum. These polyps may not produce any symptoms, especially in the early stages. As the disease progresses, more symptoms may appear.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:
- Diarrhea or constipation that does not go away
- Change in normal bowel habits, such as size, shape, and frequency
- Discomfort or urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need
- Abdominal pain or cramping pain in your lower stomach
- Bloating or full feeling
- Change in appetite
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in the stool or toilet after a bowel movement
- Excessive fatigue
- Weight loss without dieting
In the later stages of colon cancer, the polyp may metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. This can cause other symptoms, depending on where cancer has spread.
These symptoms usually do not mean you have colorectal cancer. But, any time you notice unexplained changes and they persist for more than two weeks, don’t assume they will just go away. See your doctor.
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