Dr Brian Orr talks about colorectal cancer symptoms and screening in this month’s video. 

When it comes to colorectal cancer, there’s some (relatively) good news to take into consideration; so I’ll start with that.

The good news is that colorectal cancer is usually very slow to progress, typically doesn’t metastasize to other parts of the body, and can often be treated surgically without the need for radiation and chemotherapy.

Cancer Screening

The bad news is that colorectal cancer typically strikes without any symptoms to alert you that something’s wrong. By the time symptoms occur, it’s already quite serious. Which is why it’s very important to have regular colonoscopies to detect early problems.

Early Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

However, not all colorectal cancers are without early symptoms. One early symptom of colorectal cancer may be bleeding. Often, tumors bleed only small amounts, off and on, and evidence of the blood is found only with chemical testing of the stool.

  • When tumors have grown larger, other symptoms may develop. They include:
  • Pencil-thin stool
  • Change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or alternations between the two)
  • Blood on or in the stool
  • Abdominal bloating, cramps or discomfort
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely

You can learn more about the early warning signs of colorectal cancer from the American Cancer Society (cancer.org).