Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they are often referred to as colorectal cancers.
Many people with colon and rectal cancer often experience no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do appear, they can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. The primary signs of colon cancer include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool
- Cramping or pain in the abdomen
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have colon or rectal cancer. However, if you do have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
In addition to all major cancer screening and diagnosis methods, we also offer these techniques when testing for colorectal cancer:
- Colonoscopy – A test that allows your doctor to see the inner lining of the large intestine to look for ulcers, polyps, tumors, or inflamed/bleeding areas of the colon
- Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – A lab test that checks stool samples for hidden blood, which may indicate colon cancer or polyps in the colon or rectum
- Barium Enema – An x-ray test of the colon
Surgery is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are also treatment options. Your care team will work with you to determine your exact course of treatment. Learn more about treatment options.