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Colon and rectal cancer in one cancer which is increasing in incidence in India and is known to be one of the most common cancers involving the gastrointestinal system.  

Where does these cancers rise from?

These cancers usually start in small polyps, which can be present anywhere in the colon and rectum. These polyps are small bud like swellings in the inner side of the wall of colon or rectum, which over a period of time acquire some genetic changes and can transform into cancer, which may sometimes take upto 10 years, before they turn into malignancy.

Symptoms of Colon- Rectal Cancer

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea alternating with constipation

  • Abdominal bloating 

  • Intestinal Obstruction

  • Blood in stool

  • Constipation

  • Loss of weight and loss of appetite

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1. Patients with Colon and Rectal Cancer can present with passing blood in the stool (which can either be black tarry or bright red in colour). They may also have symptoms of fatigue (severe weakness), diarrhoea or constipation and sometimes diarrhoea alternating with constipation. They may also land up in an emergency situation where they experience severe abdominal distension with vomiting and inability to pass stool or gas. These patients may also have symptoms of loss of appetite and loss of weight

2. Patients with Ulcerative colitis can have bleeding in stool associated with diarrhoea and they may have fever and other non intestinal symptoms like joint pains, jaundice etc.

3. Patients with Piles may have blood in stool associated with constipation and occasionally these piles may come out of anus as a swelling

4. Patients with fistula will have discharge of fluid or pus with blood from an external opening in the peri anal region

5. Patients with Fissure may have severe pain in the anal region during passage of stool, associated with severe constipation or passage of hard stool and they also may show bleeding during stool passage

6. Rectal Prolapse is a disease in which patients complain of a mass coming out from their anus which appears mostly while straining during stool passage. This disease also may be associated with constipation


1. Avoid taking excessive non vegetarian food, avoid processed foods especially processed meat

2. Take more fibre diet, fruits and vegetables and plenty of water to avoid constipation

3. Timely screening of those individuals who have a positive family history of cancer or polyposis condition

4. Healthy life style (regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake)

5. Good stool hygiene to prevent constipation (avoid postponing the urge to pass stool, try to take advantage of the bowel movement after food intake and pass stool)


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