What are the Symptoms of an Intestinal Tumor?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2015
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The symptoms of an intestinal tumor vary, depending on the type and location of the tumor. Gastroenterological symptoms like changes in stool composition are extremely common, and patients may also feel generally unwell, particularly if a tumor is especially large. Intestinal tumors sometimes persist for months or years before they are diagnosed, as symptoms may emerge late and patients sometimes do not realize that there is a problem. Treatment for tumors in the intestinal tract usually involves surgery to remove the growth, along with chemotherapy and radiation to kill malignant cells.

Nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain are all potential symptoms of an intestinal tumor. Patients can experience constipation if a tumor blocks the intestine, and they can also develop diarrhea. Stools may become dark as a result of blood in the stool, and some patients experience bright red bloody stool. People may also notice a narrowing of the stool, caused by constriction in the bowel.

Loss of appetite and weight loss are also symptoms of an intestinal tumor. Fatigue, weakness, anemia, and shortness of breath can also be observed in some patients with intestinal tumors and they can also experience symptoms like jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by malfunction in the liver. Patients can also experience a sense of pressure or weightiness in the abdomen caused by the growing tumor. If an intestinal tumor metastasizes, it can cause additional symptoms as malignant growths appear elsewhere in the body.


The symptoms associated with an intestinal tumor can be caused by many other medical problems, including conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Because the symptoms are highly generalized, when patients go to doctors for treatment, they should expect extensive diagnostic testing. This can include bloodwork, medical imaging studies of the abdomen, endoscopy procedures to look inside the intestines, and even exploratory surgery. These diagnostic tools are used to gather as much information about the patient's condition as possible.

When an intestinal tumor is diagnosed, a biopsy specimen will be examined to determine the type of tumor and the stage. This information will be used in the development of an appropriate treatment plan for the patient. Patients may want to ask about the risks and benefits of all available treatments so they can make an informed choice about which line of treatment to pursue. Some treatments can be provided together, while others may be mutually exclusive, and patients should know how their decisions about treatment will impact future treatment options.


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