What Are the Most Common Intestine Cancer Symptoms?

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  • Written By: C. Webb
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 March 2020
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The most common intestine cancer symptoms depend on the type of cancer and where it is located. There are generalized intestine cancer symptoms that apply to both large and small intestine cancer, and there are symptoms that are type specific. One should seek prompt medical attention whenever one notices symptoms of intestine cancer.

Blood in stools is one of the more common intestine cancer symptoms. Bright red blood usually indicates the problem is in the lower colon or rectal area. Dark blood or black tarry colored stools occur when the problem is higher in the intestine and more processed before it leaves the body. Bloody stool is also an indicator of other diseases including hemorrhoids and peptic ulcers; however, only a medical professional can determine whether it is an intestine cancer symptom or a less serious issue.

Weight loss without effort is another cancer symptom, especially if accompanied by extreme fatigue or a feeling of weakness. Cancer-caused weight loss occurs without exercise, change in diet, or other factors. It may also be accompanied by vomiting or nausea.

Stomach discomfort or pain is sometimes seen in patients with intestine cancer. The pain's location depends on the tumor location. There may also be an abdominal lump, though if the tumor is far enough in the intestine, the lump will not be detectable by physical exam.


Tumors that grow large enough in the intestine sometimes interfere with bowel movements. Stools that become either narrow in diameter or flat on one side may be changing shape to get past the tumor. Diarrhea or constipation lasting more than two or three weeks can also be a cancer symptom as the tumor grows and blocks normal stool passage.

Secondary intestine cancer symptoms can also relate to tumors. A tumor in the large intestine can cause long-term, slow blood loss without causing any other symptoms. This blood loss leads to anemia and the resulting symptoms of dizziness and shortness of breath. Advanced anemia can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats.

All symptoms can be experienced with all cancer types; however, certain symptoms are more common with specified cancers. Right colon cancer typically causes anemia, nausea, and vomiting before the tumor grows large enough to change bowel shape or cause constipation. Left side colon cancer causes bowel obstruction more quickly, which subsequently causes stomach cramping, bloating of the abdomen, and narrow stools.


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Post 2

What about lower left back cramping that is eased by having a bowel movement?

Post 1

There are many reasons that a person may be experiencing abdominal pain and discomfort. This does not necessarily mean that you have colon or intestinal cancer, but it does mean that you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Many times it is easier to put off seeing someone because you don't want to know. But either way you look at it, I think it would be better to know so you can do something about whatever is wrong. This is better than just wondering and worrying.

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