Colorectal cancer

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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:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • 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
  • jaundice
  • a buildup of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)
  • pain in the abdomen, back, buttocks or legs
  • breathing problems

anemia

A reduction in the number of healthy red blood cells.

jaundice

A condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and urine is dark yellow.

Jaundice may be caused by high levels of bilirubin (a substance formed when red blood cells break down) in the blood. It can also result from liver problems or a blocked bile duct.

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