Symptoms of colorectal cancer

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This is the most common presentation of colorectal cancer and is characterised by:

Leakage of blood from the anus or rectal bleeding

Bloody discharges from the rectum (rectal bleeding).

Standing person with abdominal pain

Abdominal pain. Which is less intense and with a more latent onset than in the acute presentation

Changes in stool rhythm and asymmetric bowel movements

Changes in bowel movement rhythm (whether it be diarrhoea or constipation)

Scale with a down arrow indicating a weight loss

Weight loss, loss of appetite (anorexia) and/or tiredness. The presentation of these symptoms could be signs of an advanced tumour

Blood test tube with a low red blood cell count or anemia

Anaemia. Colorectal cancer occasionally manifests as anaemia (iron deficiency anaemia) due to unnoticed blood loss through the digestive tract.

The acute presentation of colorectal cancer, which is much less common than the chronic form, includes:

Perforation of the large intestine

Intestinal perforation. This occurs when tumour growth affects the entire thickness of the intestine wall which eventually ruptures, subsequently allowing faecal matter to pass into the peritoneal cavity. This leads to acute peritonitis which manifests with abdominal pain and often fever.

Intestinal transit occlusion in the large intestine

Bowel obstruction. Similarly, tumours can grow until they obstruct intestinal transit, leading to abdominal pain and vomiting.

What is Cancer?

General information about Cancer

Read more

Substantiated information by:

Antonio Maria Lacy Fortuny
Estela Pineda Losada
Francesc Balaguer Prunes
Mª Rosa Costa Quintàs

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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