Colorectal cancer usually starts 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 the urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need
- Discomfort or pain during bowel movements
- Discomfort when sitting
- 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 colorectal 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. However, 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.
Cancer screening exams can detect cancer early, when the chances for successfully treating disease are greatest.
MD Anderson offers colorectal cancer screenings at the following locations:
- MD Anderson in Sugar Land
- MD Anderson West Houston
- MD Anderson The Woodlands
- Texas Medical Center
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials
offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.