What should you do if you suffer from rectal cancer symptoms?


Quick Answer

Patients who experience symptoms of rectal cancer should make an appointment with their doctors to have the symptoms examined, advises the American Cancer Society. Even if the symptoms are not due to cancer, the doctor can determine the cause and treat it properly.

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Full Answer

Many patients ignore symptoms of cancer, states the American Cancer Society. Sometimes, this is because they are frightened by the symptoms or cannot afford medical help. Ignoring the symptoms of colorectal cancers is a mistake because the earlier a cancer is treated, the better the chances for recovery. Cancer Treatment Centers of America recommends adults over age 50 and those with a family history of colorectal cancer get screened for the disease regularly in hopes the cancer is caught before symptoms even appear.

The early symptoms of rectal cancer are similar to those of other bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Many patients show no early symptoms, but as the disease progresses, they experience problems such as diarrhea and constipation. They may be unable to completely empty their bowels or notice their stools are narrower than usual. Bloody stools and pain in the rectum are also symptoms of rectal cancer. Some symptoms are more generalized, such as changes in appetite, unexpected weight loss, tiredness and more frequent gas pain or stomach cramps.

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