The symptoms of colorectal cancer depend on the location of tumor in bowel and whether it has spread to elsewhere in the body (metastasis). Most of the symptoms may occur in other diseases as well, and hence none of the symptoms mentioned here is diagnostic of colorectal cancer. Symptoms and signs are divided into local, constitutional (affecting the whole body) and metastatic (caused by spread to other organs).
 Local symptoms
Local symptoms are more likely if the tumor is located closer to the anus. There may be a change in bowel habit (new-onset constipation or diarrhea in the absence of another cause), and a feeling of incomplete defecation (tenesmus) and reduction in diameter of stool; tenesmus and change in stool shape are both characteristic of rectal cancer. Lower gastrointestinal bleeding, including the passage of bright red blood in the stool, may indicate colorectal cancer, as may the increased presence of mucus. Melena, black stool with a tarry appearance, normally occurs in upper gastrointestinal bleeding (such as from a duodenal ulcer) but is sometimes encountered in colorectal cancer when the disease is located in the beginning of the large bowel.
A tumor that is large enough to fill the entire lumen of the bowel may cause bowel obstruction. This situation is characterized by constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal... [continues]
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