Colorectal Cancer | Symptoms


What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp (say: "pohl-ip"). At first, a polyp is a small, harmless growth in the wall of the colon. However, as a polyp gets larger, it can develop into a cancer that grows and spreads.

See your doctor if you have any of the following warning signs:

  • Bleeding from your rectum
  • Blood in your stool or in the toilet after you have a bowel movement
  • A change in the shape or consistency of your stool (such as diarrhea or constipation lasting several weeks)
  • Cramping pain in your lower stomach
  • A feeling of discomfort or an urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need to have one
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Other conditions can cause these same symptoms. You should see your doctor to find what is causing your symptoms.


Update on Colorectal Cancer by DR Rudy, MJ Zdon (American Family Physician March 15, 2000,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 09/00