symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, which includes cancer of the colon and rectum, often develops without causing noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, as the cancer progresses, various symptoms may arise. It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer. Here are some common symptoms:

  1. Changes in bowel habits: Persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, narrowing of the stool, or a feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely, can be signs of colorectal cancer.
  2. Blood in the stool: This can appear as bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl, or as dark, tarry stools. However, blood in the stool can also be a sign of other conditions, such as hemorrhoids or gastrointestinal bleeding from another cause.
  3. Abdominal discomfort: Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas, bloating, or pain, may occur and persist despite dietary changes or other interventions.
  4. Unexplained weight loss: Significant and unexplained weight loss, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, can be a sign of colorectal cancer.
  5. Fatigue: Persistent fatigue or weakness that doesn’t improve with rest can be a symptom of colorectal cancer, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms.
  6. Anemia: A low red blood cell count (anemia) can result from chronic blood loss in the stool, which may not be visibly apparent. Symptoms of anemia can include fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
  7. Change in stool consistency or appearance: Stools that are narrower than usual or have a different consistency, such as being more watery or mucousy, may indicate colorectal cancer.

It’s important to emphasize that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, or infections. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen over time, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer can significantly improve outcomes. Screening tests such as colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests, and stool DNA tests are recommended for early detection in individuals at average risk or with risk factors for colorectal cancer.

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