Colon Cancer Home > Colon Cancer Symptom

Most people don't experience a single sign or symptom of colon cancer in the earliest stages of the disease. When the cancer spreads beyond its early stages, symptoms such as blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, and constipation may develop. Pain is not normally an early symptom; don't wait for pain to develop before seeing your doctor about any possible symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer: An Overview

There is not a specific, definitive colon cancer symptom. In fact, as with most cancers in their early, most treatable stages, there are no common early symptoms. This is why it's so important to have regular screening tests to check for colon cancer -- even when it seems as though there's nothing wrong.
 
As the cancer grows, colon cancer symptoms can appear. Common symptoms include:
 
  • A change in the frequency of bowel movements
  • Constipation, diarrhea, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Either bright red or very dark blood in the stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • General abdominal discomfort (such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant tiredness
  • Vomiting.
     
It's important to keep in mind that any possible symptom of colon cancer mentioned in this article may also be caused by other conditions. Therefore, it is important to check with a doctor if you experience any of these possible signs so that a proper diagnosis can be made.
 
Don't wait until you feel pain to seek medical attention. In most cases, pain is not an early indication of disease.
 

Being Tested Before You Experience a Colon Cancer Symptom

Since most people don't have symptoms of colon cancer in the early stages of the disease, screening is very important. Screening tests can help doctors find polyps or colon cancer early. The disease can often be cured if it is diagnosed and treated early.
 
(Click Colon Cancer Screening for more information about detecting the disease before symptoms develop.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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