Canadian Cancer Society logo

Small intestine
cancer

You are here: 

Signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer

A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Small intestine cancer may cause vague signs or symptoms, or none at all, in its early stages. Symptoms appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs, or may occur when the tumour blocks (obstructs) the small intestine.

The signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.

Signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer are:

  • abdominal pain or cramps
    • Pain in the abdomen may occur if a tumour partly or completely blocks (obstructs) the small intestine.
  • diarrhea
  • changes to digestion
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • loss of appetite
    • bloating
  • lump in the abdomen
  • blood in the stool or black stools
    • A tumour can cause bleeding in the small intestine. This can lead to anemiaanemiaA reduction in the number of healthy red blood cells..
  • perforation of the small intestine
    • A hole (perforation) in the small intestine allows its contents to empty into the abdominal cavity, which can result in a serious infection.
  • fatigue
  • malaisemalaiseA general feeling of discomfort or illness.
  • fever
  • unexplained weight loss
  • jaundicejaundiceA condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and urine is dark yellow.
    • Jaundice can occur if the tumour blocks the bile ducts or if the cancer has spread to the liver.

Stories

Dr John Mercer If we had done nothing 50 years ago, many of us wouldn’t be here today. Small steps have had and will continue to have an effect.

Read Dr John Mercer's story

Funding lifesaving clinical trials

Illustration of science instruments

The Canadian Cancer Society is funding lifesaving clinical trials that give people with cancer access to the newest types of treatment.

Learn more