Colon Cancer Home > Colon Cancer Signs

In the early stages of the disease, signs of colon cancer typically don't appear. Screening tests can detect colon cancer before symptoms are present, making it easier to treat. As the disease spreads, signs may appear, including diarrhea, constipation, a change in the frequency of bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, and vomiting. Because other conditions can cause these symptoms, however, a healthcare provider should be consulted.

Are There Early Colon Cancer Signs?

As with most cancers in their early, most treatable stages, there are usually no early signs of colon cancer. That is why it is so important to have regular screening tests to check for the disease, even when you might not notice anything wrong.
 

Possible Signs of Colon Cancer

As the disease progresses, colon cancer signs may appear. Common indications include:
 
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • A change in the frequency of bowel movements
  • Either bright red or very dark blood in the stool
  • Unusually narrow stools
  • General abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Constant tiredness
  • Vomiting.
     
These symptoms may be signs of colon cancer, but they can also be caused by other conditions. Therefore, it's important to check with a doctor if you have any of these possible symptoms so that a proper diagnosis can be made. Don't hesitate to see a doctor -- even if you aren't feeling any pain. Early colon cancer usually doesn't cause pain, so you should still seek medical attention if you experience possible signs.
 

Diagnosing Colon Cancer Before Signs Develop

Because most people don't have any colon cancer signs in the early stages of this disease, screening is important. Screening allows the doctor to find polyps or cancer early. Also, this disease is highly curable if diagnosed and treated early.
 
(Click Colon Cancer Screening for more information about detecting the disease before signs appear.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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