Colon Cancer Signs & Symptoms

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Colon cancer can be challenging to detect because you may feel only slight symptoms or even none at all. By the time you do feel symptoms, the cancer may be more advanced. For this reason, depending on your age, family history, and other risk factors, we may recommend regular screening for colon cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

These are symptoms you should not ignore because they may be signs of colon cancer:

  • rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • a change in your bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrow stool that lasts more than a few days
  • unexplained abdominal pain or cramping
  • a persistent urge to have a bowel movement that doesn’t go away after you have one
  • unexplained weakness and fatigue
  • unintended weight loss
  • a diagnosis of anemia
  • women who have bloating that doesn’t go away or happens with unexplained weight loss

Contact your doctor if any of these problems are severe or continue longer than you think they should.

If you have any rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, tell your doctor as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer in People under 50

If you are under 50 and have not been screened for colon cancer, it is particularly important that you do not ignore symptoms. The typical age to begin colon cancer screening is 50 years old. But in recent years, there has been a troubling rise in colon cancer among people as young as their 20s and 30s who do not have a family history of the disease or typical risk factors.

If you are under 50 and have worrying symptoms, discuss with your doctor if screening is right for you.

Meet Katie: Diagnosed with Colon Cancer Just Weeks After Giving Birth

33-year-old Katie Rich was terrified to learn she had stage IV colon cancer. Her treatment at MSK helped Katie recover her health when her family needed her most.

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