Colorectal cancer technically refers to two different types of cancer, colon cancer and rectal cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and it kills nearly 50,000 men and women each year. Many of the symptoms of colorectal cancer do not present themselves until the cancer is rather advanced.
Changes in Bowel Habits
The most frequently reported symptom of colorectal cancer is a persistent change in bowel habits, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). You may experience repeated bouts of diarrhea or constipation that seem unusual for you.
The NCI also reports that narrow stools are a common symptom of colorectal cancer. Your stools may appear thinner or narrower than usual.
Blood in the Stool
Colorectal cancer may also cause blood to be passed in the stool that looks bright or dark red, according to the NCI.
Gas and Bloating
Frequent gas pain and stomach bloating are also noted to be common symptoms of colorectal cancer by the NCI. You may also experience frequent abdominal pain or cramping.
Weight Loss and Nausea
Colorectal cancer may also cause unexplained weight loss, nausea and general fatigue. The NCI also lists vomiting as a potential symptom of colorectal cancer.