Symptoms

See your UCHealth providers if you have any of these symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days.
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one.
  • Blood in the stool, which may make the stool look dark.
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain.
  • Rectal bleeding with bright red blood.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Weakness and fatigue.

Sometimes the first sign of colorectal cancer is a blood test that shows a low red blood cell count. Many of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Questions and answers about colon cancer (FAQs)

Can colon cancer occur and not cause any symptoms?

Yes, early colon cancer may not present with any signs or symptoms, and because it typically grows slowly, symptoms may not present for years.

Is there a link between eating red meat and colon cancer?

Yes, research has shown that eating red meat and processed meats increases your risk of getting colon cancer. In addition, obesity is a risk factor, especially when the weight gain occurs between early adulthood and middle age.

Is there an age range for colonoscopies?

The current guidelines suggest that colonoscopies should be performed from age 50 to 75. However, a provider may prescribe a colonoscopy for adult patients of any age.

Source: American Cancer Society