What're the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all. The prognosis tends to be worse in symptomatic as compared to asymptomatic individuals. The most common presenting symptom of colorectal cancer is rectal bleeding. Cancers arising from the left side of the colon
generally cause bleeding, or in their late stages may cause constipation, abdominal pain, and obstructive symptoms. On the other hand, right-sided colon lesions may produce vague abdominal aching, but are unlikely to present with obstruction or altered bowel habit. Other symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, or anemia resulting from chronic blood loss may accompany cancer of the right side of the colon.
People who have symptoms may have a change in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation or a feeling that the bowel doesn't empty completely. They may also experience bright red or very dark blood in the stool, stools that are narrower than normal, discomfort in the abdomen including frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps, weight loss with no known reason, constant and extreme tiredness, vomiting and anemia (low iron in the blood).
Fatigue and weakness resulting from occult bleeding (bleeding not visible to the naked eye) may be the person's only symptoms. A tumor in the left (descending) colon is likely to cause obstruction at an earlier stage, because the left colon has a smaller diameter and the stool is semisolid. Cancer tends to encircle this part of the colon, causing alternating constipation and frequent bowel movements before obstruction. The person may seek medical treatment because of crampy abdominal pain or severe abdominal pain and constipation. A tumor in the right (ascending) colon does not cause obstruction until late in the course of the cancer, because the ascending colon has a large diameter and the contents flowing through it are liquid. By the time the tumor is discovered, therefore, it may be so large that a doctor can feel it through the abdominal wall.
More information on colorectal cancer
What is colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum, anus, and appendix.
What causes colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is a disease resulting from mutations in epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract.
What're the risk factors for colorectal cancer? - Risk factors for colorectal cancer include family history of colon cancer, age, smoking, diet, virus.
What're the symptoms of colorectal cancer? - Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all.
How is colorectal cancer screened and diagnosed? - Colorectal cancer usually is diagnosed by a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in individuals who are at increased risk.
What's treatment for colorectal cancer? - Treatment for colorectal cancer depends mostly on the size, location and extent of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment.
How to prevent the development of colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer can be associated with known risk factors. Many risk factors are modifiable though not all can be avoided.
What is a colon polyp? - Colon polyps are growths that stick out from the lining of the lower intestine. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.
What're the symptoms of colon polyps? - Smptoms of colon polyps include rectal bleeding, blood in stool, constipation or diarrhea, pain or obstruction.
What's the treatment for colon polyps? - For people with familial colon polyps, complete removal of the large intestine and rectum eliminates the risk of cancer.