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Colorectal cancer is very preventable, and when the condition is detected early, it can often be cured. By understanding your risks and learning to identify possible warning signs, you may be able to avoid this type of cancer. The challenge, however, is that early-stage colorectal cancer usually does not produce any noticeable symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to work with a physician who can recommend an appropriate screening plan to meet your unique needs.

Furthermore, when colorectal cancer does produce symptoms, they are often similar to those associated with other health issues, such as infections, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Therefore, if you notice any possible signs of colorectal cancer, you should promptly see a physician who can provide a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis.

The five most common signs of colorectal cancer to watch for are:

  1. A change in bowel habits — Diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely or a narrowing of the stool
  2. A change in stool color — Bright red or very dark stools (which could indicate the presence of blood)
  3. Gastrointestinal distress — Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, cramps or vomiting
  4. Exhaustion — Overwhelming and unexplained feelings of fatigue or weakness
  5. Weight loss — A decrease in fat, muscle mass or body fluid that is unrelated to diet or exercise

If you experience any of these symptoms, you can turn with confidence to the multispecialty team in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. We’ll work closely with you to reach an accurate diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan based on multiple expert opinions.

As a high-volume cancer center, Moffitt has acquired a level of expertise that far exceeds that of most other providers, especially with regard to relatively uncommon types of colorectal cancer. Additionally, through our robust clinical trial program, our patients have early access to promising new treatment options, and we continue to improve the standard of care for all present and future cancer patients.

If you are interested in learning more about the signs of colorectal cancer, you can request an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online. We accept patients with and without referrals.