What are the Symptoms of Rectal Cancer?

What are the Symptoms of Rectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the rectum, the last portion of the large intestine, just before the anus. The symptoms of rectal cancer can vary based on the stage of the cancer and its location. Common symptoms may include:

  • Bleeding from the Rectum (Rectal Bleeding): Blood in the stool or on toilet paper, which may range from bright red to dark or maroon in color.
  • Changes in Bowel Habits: Persistent changes in bowel movements, including diarrhea, constipation, a feeling of incomplete bowel emptying, or narrow, pencil-like stools.
  • Abdominal Discomfort or Pain: Persistent abdominal cramping, pain, or a feeling of fullness or bloating.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: A significant and unintentional loss of weight without an obvious cause.
  • Fatigue: Persistent fatigue, weakness, or a lack of energy, even with adequate rest.
  • Anemia: Low red blood cell count, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, paleness, or shortness of breath.
  • Rectal Mass or Lump: A palpable mass or lump felt in the rectum or anal area.
  • Pelvic Pain or Pressure: Persistent pelvic discomfort, pressure, or a sense of fullness in the pelvis.
  • Changes in Appetite: A decrease in appetite or feeling full even after eating a small amount.
  • Iron Deficiency: Iron deficiency anemia due to chronic blood loss from the rectum, which may present with fatigue, weakness, and paleness.
  • Incomplete Evacuation: A sensation of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement.
  • Urinary Symptoms: Difficulty urinating or changes in urination patterns due to pressure on the bladder or nearby structures.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal conditions. Additionally, early-stage rectal cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms. Regular screenings and consultations with a healthcare professional, especially for individuals at higher risk, can aid in early detection and improve the prognosis.

If you experience any persistent or concerning symptoms, particularly those associated with rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly for a thorough evaluation and appropriate diagnostic tests. Early detection and treatment can significantly impact the outcome and treatment options for rectal cancer.

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