Rectal Cancer Symptoms

Rectal cancer symptoms tend to develop in the later stages of a tumor’s growth. Precancerous rectal polyps and early-stage tumors rarely produce any notable warning signs; however, rectal cancer screenings can detect abnormal growths before noticeable issues arise. Anyone who experiences the following unusual health changes should promptly make an appointment with a physician; cancer is not always the underlying cause, but it is still important to determine the reason for the unusual changes as quickly as possible.

The most common symptoms of rectal cancer include:

  • Changes in the appearance or consistency of stool (including the presence of blood)
  • Passing stool more frequently than usual
  • An inability to fully empty the bowels
  • Pain when passing stool
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Pain in the rectum

Sometimes, if a tumor spreads beyond its original location, it can cause additional rectal cancer symptoms. For instance, if cancer spreads to higher sections of the digestive tract, it can cause bloating and abdominal pain. Metastatic rectal cancer can also cause unexplained weight loss, fatigue and changes in appetite.   

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we understand that it can be uncomfortable to discuss bowel-related symptoms with a medical professional, but we make it simple and convenient for patients to get answers to their important health care questions. Referrals are not required to make appointments with our oncologists, and we offer a complete range of diagnostic and therapeutic services in a single, convenient location.  To discuss your symptoms with an oncologist who specializes in rectal cancer, request a consultation by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online.