Symptoms of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages because the cancer is very small. Symptoms often appear once a tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as colorectal cancer.
See your doctor if you have these signs or symptoms:
- stool (poop) that looks narrower than usual
- feeling like the rectum is not completely empty after a bowel movement
- bright or very dark red blood in the stool
- bleeding from the rectum
- gas, abdominal cramps and feeling bloated
- pain or discomfort in the rectum
- a lump in the abdomen or rectum
- fatigue and weakness
anemia, which can cause fatigue and shortness of breath
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- a blockage in the intestine (called a bowel obstruction)
- swollen lymph nodes
- enlarged liver
- a buildup of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)
- pain in the abdomen, back, buttocks or legs
- breathing problems
American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer. 2018: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer.html.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Colorectal Cancer. 2017: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/colorectal-cancer/view-all.
Cancer Research UK. Symptoms of advanced bowel cancer. Cancer Research UK; 2015: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/bowel-cancer/advanced/symptoms-advanced-cancer.
National Cancer Institute. Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018: https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colon-treatment-pdq#section/all.
National Cancer Institute. Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018: https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/rectal-treatment-pdq#section/all.