Risks & Symptoms

Risks & Symptoms


There is no one cause for colorectal cancer. While nobody is immune to colorectal cancer, some people are at higher risk of developing the disease than others, depending on certain factors.

Colorectal cancer is more common in people over age 50 and the chance of developing the disease increases with age. A diagnosis of colorectal cancer is more likely if you:

  • Have polyps inside the colon and rectum
  • Have a personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Have a personal history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
  • Consume a high-fat, low-fiber diet
  • Are not physically active  - smoke, consume heavy amounts of alcohol



Generally, someone with early-stage colorectal cancer will not have any symptoms. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms may occur:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as color, consistency, diarrhea or constipation
  • A persistent change (typically a narrowing) in the shape of your stool
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in stool
  • Cramping pain in your lower abdomen or other abdominal discomfort, such as bloating or fullness
  • Urgent sensation that there's a need to have a bowel movement when none exists
  • Losing weight for no known reason
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Always feeling overly tired

Many of these symptoms could also mean a benign (noncancerous) condition, so it is important to see your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

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