Ileana is a writer on the Original Content team. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

what is colorectal cancer

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Let’s start by breaking down exactly what colorectal cancer means.

The US National Library of Medicine explains: “The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50.”

Signs And Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer
Sign #1: Abdominal Discomfort

abdominal discomfort

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

One of the more common symptoms of colorectal cancer is abdominal pain.

 

This may feel like cramping, gas, or general discomfort in the belly area.


Sign #2: Weakness/Fatigue

weakness fatigue

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

As with many serious illnesses, colorectal cancer can cause weakness and fatigue.

 

This exhaustion will feel like more than just normal sleepiness.

Sign #3: Rectal Bleeding

rectal bleeding

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The American Cancer Society explains that rectal bleeding may also be a symptom of colorectal cancer.

 

The blood may appear as bright red, or it may just make your stool look dark and tarry.

Sign #4: Change In Bowel Habits

change in bowel habits

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Everyone’s bowel habits change from time to time, but if they last for more than a few days, it’s worth considering that it might be something serious.

The American Cancer Society writes that one of the symptoms of colorectal cancer is “a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool.”

Sign #5: Feeling That Your Bowel Isn’t Empty

bowel not empty

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Another symptoms is “a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by having one,” says the American Cancer Society.

 

This may also feel like your bowel is never completely empty.

Sign #6: Unexplained Weight Loss

unexplained weight loss

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

One final symptom of colorectal cancer is unexplained and unintended weight loss.

If you’re dropping pounds unintentionally, it’s always something to take note of — it could mean something is seriously wrong with your health.

When To See A Doctor

see a doctor

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

“If you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool or a persistent change in bowel habits, make an appointment with your doctor,” writes the Mayo Clinic.

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ALSO WORTH CHECKING OUT