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What are some symptoms of colorectal cancer?

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Quick Answer

Change in bowel habits, blood in stool and abdominal pain are all symptoms of colorectal cancer, reports the American Cancer Society. The patient may lose weight unintentionally and feel weak and tired.

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Full Answer

In the early stages, colorectal cancer may not present any symptoms, and this is why regular screening is so important, explains the American Cancer Society. The symptoms increase in quantity and become more severe as the disease progresses, notes the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Symptoms of colorectal cancer can be local or systemic. Local symptoms directly affect the colon and the rectum. Systemic symptoms affect the entire body.

Changes in bowel habits, such as alternating diarrhea and constipation, are some of the local symptoms, reports the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Others include narrowing of stools, bowel incontinence and incomplete evacuation, according to Cleveland Clinic. Patients may also experience abdominal bloating and cramps.

Systemic symptoms include nausea, vomiting, jaundice, anemia and fatigue, notes the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The anemia may cause shortness of breath, and the patient may feel sluggish or tired, according to Cleveland Clinic.

An individual who experiences any of these symptoms for more than one week should talk to their doctor to schedule an exam to diagnose or rule out colorectal cancer, states Cancer.net.

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