Colorectal cancer | Signs and symptoms

Young woman doctor visiting older Black male patient at home

Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer

Most people who develop colon cancer do not have any signs or symptoms before the cancer starts. This is why colon cancer screening is recommended even when someone feels perfectly fine. The goal of colon cancer screening is to detect something abnormal so early that cancer can be prevented or removed before it becomes a threat to someone’s health.

Most colon cancers develop from colon polyps, which are small growths. Most people who have a colon polyp do not have any symptoms. Colon polyps are very common and although most do not turn into cancer, some polyps can turn into cancer over time. But if they are found early, usually through routine screening tests, they can be removed before they do.

What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually doesn't cause any symptoms. Symptoms occur later, when the cancer may be harder to treat. The most common symptoms include:

  • Blood in your stool or very dark stools.
  • A change in your bowel habits, such as having more frequent bowel movements or a feeling that your bowels aren't emptying completely.
  • Low energy (fatigue).
  • Pain in the belly or rectal pain.

Source: Healthwise