Early Warning Signs of Rectal Cancer

The rectum is the last part of the large intestine (colon) that ends at the anus. The rectum is only a few inches long and stores stool until you are ready to poop. Although the rectum is part and extension of the large intestine, it has a unique appearance and function.

Colon cancer is cancer that occurs anywhere in the colon, including the rectum. However, you could develop rectal cancer on your own, a condition called rectal cancer.

Rectal cancer can be more difficult to treat than colon cancer because of the lack of space and the presence of other organs nearby. This is why prevention and early detection are more important.

An expert panel of colorectal surgeons in the Greater Hartford area recommends that you be aware of the early warning signs of rectal cancer so you can get tested and treated as soon as possible. They test, diagnose and treat colorectal and colon cancers at their offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Plainville, Connecticut.

We’ve created this list of early signs of rectal cancer to keep you up to date on changes that need evaluation. We also recommend regular colorectal exams to facilitate early detection.

Change in the shape or consistency of stool.
Normal stools should be well-formed, sausage-shaped, and soft to the touch. If you have rectal cancer or another disease that affects the rectum, this can cause abnormal bowel movements such as:

narrow stools
While occasional diarrhea or constipation can be caused by a food intolerance, chronic diarrhea or constipation should not be ignored. Tara’s stool may be a sign of a tumor pressing on the rectum or it may be related to an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease.

Do you see blood or mucus in your stool?
Blood in the stool can be a sign of rectal cancer, colon cancer, or another serious disease of the colon and rectum. Contact your gastroenterologist right away.

Mucus in the stool is a sign of irritation of the rectal tissues. Irritation can be caused by an infection, inflammation, cancer, or another disease.

You have pelvic pain
Colon cancer is often asymptomatic. However, pelvic pain may be a sign that you have rectal cancer.

Women who are still menstruating may confuse pelvic pain with the pain associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, if the pain persists after menstruation, it may be a sign of rectal cancer.

Have you lost weight or felt tired?
Fighting colon cancer takes energy. One of the hallmarks of cancer is unexplained weight loss, in which your body redirects calories to fight the disease instead of fueling your muscles and other tissues.

You may also feel so tired that you cannot break out of your usual routine or take frequent naps during the day. Your immune system uses energy to destroy cancer cells, which makes you feel weak.

Cancer develops gradually. Early stages of colorectal cancer are easier to treat and respond better to surgery and chemotherapy than advanced stages. So do not ignore the symptoms.

Contact the colorectal surgery specialists in Greater Hartford today by calling your nearest office or filling out the online form. Wherever possible, we treat rectal cancer with minimally invasive procedures. If you do not have any symptoms, you can also call us to schedule a colon cancer screening appointment.

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