Your rectum is the last part of your large intestine (aka the colon) and ends at your anus. Just a few inches long, the anus stores feces until you’re ready to go to the bathroom. Although it is part of and continuous with your large intestine, your rectum has its own characteristics.
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs anywhere in the large intestine, including the rectum. However, you can only develop cancer in the rectum, which is called rectal cancer.
The treatment of rectal cancer is more complicated than the treatment of colon cancer, because the space is narrowed, as well as other nearby organs. Therefore, prevention and early detection are more important.
Our expert team of colon and rectal surgeons at Greater Hartford recommends learning about the early signs of rectal cancer so you can be evaluated and treated as soon as possible. They detect, diagnose, and treat rectal and colon cancers at offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Plainville, Connecticut.
We’ve compiled a list of early signs of rectal cancer so you can be aware of changes that require evaluation. Regular colonoscopy is also recommended to facilitate early detection.
The density or shape of your stool has changed
A normal stool should have a well-shaped, sausage-like, soft consistency. When rectal cancer or other rectal disorders develop, it can cause abnormal discharge, such as:
Sometimes diarrhea and constipation can be caused by food sensitivities, but chronic diarrhea and constipation should not be ignored. Loose stools can be a symptom of a tumor that’s narrowing your rectum or an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease.
Blood and mucus can be seen in the stool
Blood in your stool can be a sign of rectal cancer, colon cancer, or other serious colon conditions. Contact your rectal doctor immediately.
Mucus in the stool indicates irritation of the rectal tissue. Inflammation can be caused by infection, inflammation, cancer, or other conditions.
Your pelvis hurts
Colon cancer often has no symptoms. However, pain in your pelvic area can be a sign of rectal cancer.
Women who are still menstruating often mistake pelvic pain for pain associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, if pain persists after menstruation, it may be a sign of rectal cancer.
You’ve lost weight or feel tired
Fighting rectal cancer takes energy. One symptom of cancer is unexplained weight loss because your body uses calories to fight disease instead of fueling muscles and other tissues.
You may also be too tired to keep up with your normal routine, or you often fall asleep during the day. Your immune system uses energy to kill cancer cells, leaving you feeling tired.
Cancer develops in stages. Early stages of rectal cancer are easy to treat and surgery and chemotherapy are better than late stages, so don’t ignore the symptoms.
Call an office near you or use our online form to contact our Greater Hartford colon and rectal surgeons today. We treat rectal cancer with minimally invasive surgery. If you have no symptoms, you can contact us for a colon cancer screening.