Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Part 3: What are the Symptoms?
Getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is extremely important because early detection improves the chances of survival. Importantly, a person could have early stages of the disease without experiencing any symptoms. But, knowing what to look for can help you stay ahead of the disease.
Although colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away, if it does, it may cause one or more of the following symptoms:
A change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing of the stool (feces), which lasts for more than a few days.
A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one.
Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain that doesn’t go away.
Unexplained vomiting (throwing up).
Blood in or on your stool, which may make the feces look dark.
Rectal bleeding with bright red blood.
Feeling weak or fatigued (extreme tiredness) all the time.
Losing weight for no apparent reason.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor. Many of these symptoms can be caused by medical conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome. But the only way to know what is causing them is to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. There are several colorectal screening tests available, which your doctor may use to learn more about what might be causing your symptoms. Check out our previous blog on Colorectal Cancer Screening to learn more about these tests. Also, be sure to check out our next blog on tests to diagnose and stage colorectal cancer.
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