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:
- 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.
- 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.
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
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