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Colorectal cancer

Early warning signs of colorectal cancer

Diagnosing colorectal cancer early is critical, but many colorectal cancers grow undetected because they don’t typically cause symptoms. Most cancers in the colon or rectum develop from polyps, so screening to find and remove them when they first form helps prevent them from growing into cancers. Screening for colorectal cancer generally starts at age 50 for people at an average risk for developing the disease, or younger for those at higher risk.

If early-stage colorectal cancer does cause symptoms, they most often include:

Although these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious conditions, such as hemorrhoids, ulcers and Crohn's disease, they should be discussed with a doctor. Blood in the stool, even if it only appears intermittently, should never be ignored.