Rectal cancer symptoms
The rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine that attaches the colon to the anus. While colon cancer is more common, tumors can develop in the rectum as well. The symptoms of rectal cancer may be similar to those of other bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. But while symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease may subside during periods of remission, rectal cancer symptoms may be more severe and persistent as the cancer develops. Rectal cancer or pre-cancerous growths in the rectum may be found and treated early during regular screenings.
Rectal cancer signs
Tumors in the rectum may change the consistency, shape or the frequency of bowel movements. Symptoms may increase and become more severe as the cancer spreads throughout the rectum or possibly into the colon. Bleeding from the rectum or blood from the tumor may change the color of stools, from a bright red to very dark or tar-like.
Rectal cancer signs related to bowel habits may include:
- An inability to completely empty the bowel
- Bloody stool
- Change in the size or shape of stools
Local and systemic rectal cancer symptoms
Rectal cancer may show no symptoms in its early stages. However, more systemic changes may result as the tumor grows deeper into the lining the rectum or if the cancer spreads (metastasizes) throughout the body.
Symptoms of rectal cancer may include:
- Pain in the rectum
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Frequent gas pains or stomach cramps
- A bloated or full feeling
- Change in appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor or health care provider.