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Rectal Cancer (cont.)

Rectal Cancer Symptoms

Rectal cancer can cause many symptoms that require a person to seek medical care.However, rectal cancer may also be present without any symptoms, underscoring the importance of routine health screening.Symptoms to be aware of include the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Seeing blood mixed with stool is a sign to seek immediate medical care.Although many peoplebleed due tohemorrhoids, a doctor should still be notified in the event of rectal bleeding.
  • Prolonged rectal bleeding (perhaps in small quantities that is not seen in the stool) may lead to anemia, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, light-headedness, or a fast heartbeat.
  • Obstruction
  • A rectal mass may grow so large that it prevents the normal passage of stool.This blockage may lead to the feeling of severe constipation or pain when having a bowel movement.In addition, abdominal pain or cramping may occur due to the blockage.
  • The stool size may appear narrow so that it can be passed around the rectal mass.Therefore, pencil-thin stool may be another signof an obstruction from rectal cancer.
  • A person with rectal cancer may have a sensation that the stool cannot be completely evacuated after a bowel movement.
  • Weight loss: Cancer may cause weight loss. Unexplained weight loss (in the absence of dieting or a new exercise program) requires a medical evaluation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2014
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