Symptoms of colorectal cancer may be minor or non-existent during the early stages of the disease. The signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer may not develop until the disease has progressed to stage II or beyond. Regular screening tests for colon and rectal cancer, especially after colonoscopy, are recommended as part of a health plan for people aged 50 or 50 years old at high risk or a family history of the disease or other cancers. Talk to your doctor about when to start regular colorectal cancer screening.
Several tests can be used to diagnose colorectal cancer. These tests may include colonoscopy or other endoscopic procedures, stool tests or other laboratory tests, or an MRI, CT scan or PET / CT scan. In many cases, a biopsy may be necessary. These imaging and laboratory tests can also be used to monitor tumor size and monitor response to treatment.
Local symptoms of colorectal cancer
Local symptoms are those that affect only the colon and / or the rectum and have not spread to distant organs. Common local symptoms include:
Alternating diarrhea and constipation, or other changes in bowel habits
Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
Abdominal bloating, cramps or discomfort
A feeling that the intestine is not emptying completely
Thinner stools than normal
If you experience these possible symptoms of colorectal cancer for a prolonged period, it is important that you consult a health professional.
Systemic symptoms of colorectal cancer
Systemic symptoms of colorectal cancer can affect more than the digestive tract and affect your whole body. Common systemic symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
Unexplained loss of appetite
Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of colon cancer
During stage I colon cancer, no obvious signs or symptoms developed. As symptoms develop, they may vary depending on the size of the tumor and its location in the large intestine. The first symptoms may affect only the colon and lead to changes in bowel habits. As cancer develops, it can spread and produce systemic symptoms that affect your entire body, such as fatigue and weight loss. Some changes in bowel habits that may be considered signs of colon cancer include:
Frequency change of stool
Change in consistency of stool (loose or liquid stools)
Stool blood (bright red spots or dark tar-like stools)
Abdominal pain, bloating or cramps
A persistent feeling that you can not completely empty your intestines
Symptoms of rectal cancer
The symptoms of rectal cancer may be similar to those of other intestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. However, while the
symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease may subside during periods of remission, symptoms of rectal cancer may be more severe and persistent as cancer develops. Rectal tumors can change the consistency, shape, or frequency of bowel movements. The symptoms may increase and become more severe as the cancer spreads throughout the rectum or eventually into the colon. Signs of rectal cancer related to bowel habits may include:
An inability to completely empty the bowel
Change the size or shape of the stool
Symptoms of metastatic colorectal cancer
Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer may not always notice symptoms before diagnosis. Symptoms of metastatic colorectal cancer may depend on the size of the tumor (s) and where the cancer has spread outside the colon or rectum. For example:
If the bones are affected, the symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation and / or high calcium levels.
If the lungs are affected, symptoms may include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, pain and / or fatigue.
If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, fatigue, swelling of the feet and hands, increased abdominal circumference and / or jaundice.
If the lymph nodes of the abdomen are affected, this can cause bloating, swollen belly and / or loss of appetite.
If the brain and / or spinal cord are affected, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, speech difficulties and / or convulsions.