If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to cancer. Most of these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.

Colorectal cancer may develop very gradually over the years, and symptoms may not be initially noticeable. For this reason, it is especially important to have regular screening tests, which may detect the presence of precancerous polyps (adenomas) or tumors while they are still treatable.

Cancer in the Colon

Cancer in the Colon
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

When symptoms do occur, they may include one or more of the following:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Blood (either bright red or black and tarry) in the stool (feces)
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • General abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant feeling of fatigue or tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Stool that is lighter or more tan in color
  • Stools that are particularly foul-smelling
  • Stools that more regularly float to the surface of the toilet bowl