Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Because colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer do not always cause symptoms, you could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why it is so important to get screened regularly for colorectal cancer.

However, if the disease has progressed there are symptoms associated with colorectal cancer:

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
  • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away
  • Losing weight and not knowing why

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. The symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer — the only way to know is to see your doctor.
Diagnostic Tests for Colorectal Cancer
If your doctor finds something suspicious during a screening exam, or if you have symptoms of colorectal cancer, your doctor will probably recommend one or more exams to find the cause.

  • A medical history and physical exam may include your personal and family history and an examination of your abdomen, rectum and other areas.
  • Blood tests may be required. Your doctor may want to check the level of several substances in your blood
  • Endoscopic procedures use flexible lighted tubes to examine your colon and rectum. You may have had a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy as part of a screening exam.
  • During a biopsy your doctor removes a sample of the suspicious cells and a pathologist examines them. If your doctor saw something suspicious during a screening endoscopy, a biopsy was probably performed as part of the examination.
  • Imaging tests are done with either ultrasounds, chest X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and MRI may be used to identify the location of the cancer and determine whether it has spread.