Warning Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

A sign is something you see, such as blood in your stool. It is a clue that something is wrong and you may have a disease. A symptom is usually something you feel like a pain in your abdomen (stomach area) that may also indicate something is wrong. Cancer that starts in different areas of the colon or in the rectum may cause different signs and symptoms. Research shows that when colorectal cancer is detected early, a patient has a much greater chance of complete recovery.

So if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms, let your doctor know:

  • Blood in your stool or bleeding from your rectum – any amount or color of bleeding can be an early sign of colon cancer or rectal cancer and should prompt further evaluation
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • An ongoing bloated feeling, cramping, or pain in your abdomen
  • Constant tiredness and weakness
  • A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrow stools
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that doesn’t go away, even after going to the bathroom
  • Jaundice (yellow-green color of the skin and the white part of the eye)

Other conditions, like infections, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel disease can cause these symptoms. It is also possible to have no signs or symptoms with colon cancer. Most people with colon cancer have normal looking stools, which is why screening is so important.