The signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer are variable. Early colorectal cancer often has no symptoms at all, which is why screening is so important. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, a small growth in the wall of the colon. As a polyp grows, it can bleed into the stool or cause a blockage in the intestine, which may cause symptoms of colorectal cancer:
- Red or black blood in stools
- Red or black blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
- A change in the shape of the stool (typically very narrow stools)
- Cramping or discomfort in the lower abdomen
- A feeling of discomfort or an urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need to have one
- Constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days
- Decreased appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. While they may not represent serious problems, they are sometimes signs of medical conditions.
Remember, colorectal cancer often has no symptoms at all, which is why colorectal cancer screening is so important.
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