Rectal cancer can be challenging to detect because you may feel only slight symptoms, or even none at all. By the time you do experience 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 rectal cancer.
There are some possible warning signs of rectal cancer; for example, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool. The following symptoms may also be potential signs:
- change in 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
Contact your doctor if any of these problems are severe or continue for longer than you think they should. Any incidence of rectal bleeding or blood in the stool should be brought to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible.