Colorectal Cancer Overview

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer

Most people with early colon cancer don't have symptoms. As the cancer grows, you may develop some of these signs or symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrow stool that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that doesn't go away after doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
  • Cramping or stomach pain
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia) on a lab test

Most of these problems are more often caused by something other than colorectal cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, it's important to see a doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.


Last Medical Review: 10/15/2014
Last Revised: 10/24/2014