Cancer of the colon or rectum is called colorectal cancer. The colon and the rectum are part of the large intestine, which is part of the digestive system. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine, also called the large bowel.
Studies show that the following risk factors can increase a person's chances of developing colorectal cancer: age, polyps, diet, personal history, family history, and ulcerative colitis.
When colorectal cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that people should watch for. Common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- a change in the frequency of bowel movements
- diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
Common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- either bright red or very dark blood in the stool
- stools that are narrower than usual
- general abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps
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