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Symptoms and Signs of Rectal Cancer

Doctor's Notes on Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the wall of the final part of the large intestine (colon), known as the rectum. It shares many features with cancer of other regions of the colon, including the tendency to develop from polyps or small growths in the intestinal wall. Risk factors for developing both colon and rectal cancer include genetic factors (family history), colorectal polyps, and long-standing ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms of rectal cancer can include rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent diarrhea or constipation, and changes in the size or shape of the stool. Associated symptoms and signs can include abdominal pain, a bloated feeling, weight loss, appetite changes, fatigue, and the urge to have a bowel movement when there is no need to do so.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.