The symptoms of colon cancer can be confused with those of a number of digestive disorders. Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer. In all cases, people with the following symptoms should contact their doctor:
Bleeding from the rectum. Sometimes blood can be seen on the toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. Other things can cause rectal bleeding other than cancer, but rectal bleeding should never be ignored.
Changes in bowel habits. These are not usually caused by cancer; however, be sure to discuss such changes with a doctor. If diarrhea or constipation lasts for more than two weeks or bowel habits go back and forth between diarrhea and constipation, or if the stool is unusually narrow, consultation should be made with a doctor.
Pain in the abdomen or rectum. Discomfort or dull, vague, or sharp pain in the abdomen or rectum may have a number of possible causes. It does not mean that cancer is present but you should make an appointment with your physician.
A feeling that a bowel movement cannot be completed.
Unexplained weight loss, unusually low red blood cell counts or anemia, paleness, fatigue, or a yellowish coloring of the skin or whites of the eyes.
Need To Know:
There are many common causes for bleeding from the rectum such as:
Hemorrhoidsmay produce bright red blood from the anus.
Diverticulosis, in which tiny "pockets" in the wall of the intestine can form and bleed when inflamed or irritated.
Always get checked by a doctor to determine the cause of rectal bleeding and to obtain treatment for the underlying cause of bleeding.