Main Article on Rectal Cancer Question: What symptoms did you experience with rectal cancer? Submit Your Comment Comment from: Cet93, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 21 I had a change in my bowel habits; diarrhea, constipation, alternating between diarrhea and constipation, thin or narrow stools, stomach cramps, and an urge to have bowel movements. I was freaked out and actually had my colonoscopy today and everything looked great. No polyps, tumors, lesions, bowel obstruction, no cancer anywhere. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Thin stools don't necessarily mean cancer. There are many different reasons for symptoms as such. Comment from: Linda , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 14 It is just 5 weeks post colon surgery after 1 year of runny and hard stools covered in blood. Pathology results are back, stage 3B colon cancer; just lost the left side of my descending and sigmoid colon. It had spread to 2 lymph nodes out of 39 removed, so I'm now heading to chemotherapy for 6 months. My colon was so blocked the scope couldn't pass through. My pain was mind numbing. This is my 3rd primary after ovarian and breast cancer. Never second guess blood in your stool. I did, thought it was hemorrhoids, and I was so wrong. Comment from: Nan, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 14 I had colon cancer 15 years ago. The symptoms were blood and mucus in my stool. Now my stool is skinny, and no other symptoms of rectal cancer, but I am a bit worried. Wonder if anyone else has had this. Comment from: Sandy, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 24 My symptoms of rectal cancer were bright red blood in stool, fatigue, and some vomiting once in a while after eating. I always had diarrhea after eating, low appetite, weight loss, and weakness. I had very putrid smelling stools, almost like rotten broccoli, a lot of belching, and indigestion. Comment from: This_GUY, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 26 At 30 years of age I had a PSA test accidentally taken. It was 14.2 and climbing. I had no biopsy and the doctor said it was an infection (prostatitis). At 33 I had a colonoscopy due to losing 62 pounds in about 3 months. The doctor found three 1 inch plus polyps, removed and tested. It came back as precancerous. The doctor said to wait 2 years and do another colonoscopy. Now 34, I am still in pain (rectum, anus, pelvis and lower back), and get bloody stool 4 to 5 days per week (bright red). I am either constipated or have diarrhea non-stop, and have lost an additional 23 pounds. I am worried about rectal cancer. Comment from: J, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 25 I'm 31 years old. My dad had colon cancer. Yesterday, I went to the bathroom and had a little difficulty. When I wiped, the toilet paper was covered in blood and the toilet bowl was as red as could be. I have never experienced this before; I have internal piles, and get constipated now and again, but this is new and frightening. Comment from: Molly, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 28 I'm quite nervous reading all of these replies. I'm 21 and I have experienced bleeding for around a year now. I've now developed almost like extra skin or a lump just outside. I've googled (which I know I shouldn't do) but I can't help it. I can't bear to tell anyone about this. It would break my family apart if they found out, they don't need the stress. My dad was diagnosed with rectal cancer a few years back, so I am pretty sure it is bad news. I can't do it to my family. Comment from: AnthonyD, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 01 I have been having flat or oval stool for 3 years. I recently developed pelvic pain on the left side but occasionally I feel it in my mid or right pelvis. I started feeling rectal discomfort after bowel movements recently as well. I took a home fecal immunochemical test that tested negative. I have had no weight loss, no decreased appetite, and no constipation or diarrhea. I'm terrified I have colon or rectal cancer. I have a colonoscopy scheduled next week. Comment from: Nana, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 08 I have not been to the doctor yet. However, I have been bleeding for several months. I keep telling myself that it is hemorrhoids. But I don't know if it is rectal cancer. I go to the toilet and when I get up the toilet is all red. I have to go sometimes six times a day. But with the blood I am not even sure what the stools are like. I have had many colonoscopies over the years since colon cancer is in my family beginning with my father. It has only been three years since my last one and I didn't have any polyps. I just keep putting it off. I think I have a death wish. Comment from: E.z., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 27 Sensation of incomplete evacuation, frequency, and small, thin and soft stool were my symptoms of rectal cancer. SLIDESHOW Colon Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Screening, Stages See Slideshow Comment from: Grace, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: September 27 My mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer a year ago. She's gone through chemotherapy and radiation. As a result of that she developed enteritis and burning of the colon. She became so backed up that they had to put a stent in her colon. Ever since she has had incontinence to the bladder and the colon. My mother is in constant pain stomach wise and with back pain. She is weak and sleeps on a couch all day long. Doctors gave her oxycodone but we think it made her back pain worse. She went off them and now is facing terrible pain. She took Aleve, Tylenol and those are not even working. She has stage 3 colorectal cancer. Comment from: Willy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 09 I just found out yesterday after my colonoscopy that I have rectal cancer. I started having bleeding 2 years ago after a very large bowel movement. I mentioned it to my family doctor on my 2 subsequent annual checkups and he said he thought it was just a fissure, and if the blood is on the outside of the stool, it was not of concern. Finally, this year, he referred me to a surgeon and advised endoscopy. At the consult, as soon as I said I had bleeding, he said I needed a colonoscopy; case closed, no discussion. Before the procedure, I described my symptoms, he said it sounded like hemorrhoids, but you always need to have a look. As soon as I woke up, he was there to deliver the bad news. It looks like an MRI, surgery in 6 weeks, who knows what else, and he said it looked like 'a couple of centimeters'. I have to wait till Tuesday to book a follow up appointment for more information. I suspect the MRI is to see how bad things really are. I have had a feeling for the past 6 months that things weren't right. If only I had insisted on follow up 2 years ago. Interestingly, 2 FOBTs (fetal occult blood tests) came back negative. Advocate for yourself! If you have any blood at all insist on a colonoscopy. The test is nothing, you sleep through the whole thing. Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 14 I had diarrhea on and off for approximately three months after my 48th birthday. I had lots of indigestion for approximately 3 years prior to this. My GP requested I have a colonoscopy. I had a 4cm tumor. I had surgery, 6 sets of chemotherapy and combined chemo and radiation. I have recently cleared all my yearly screenings. I currently still experience frequent stools due to the damage done to my digestive system as a result of the chemo. In February 2011, I experienced severe pain in the region of my heart. My doctor suggested I have an endoscope. The cause of the pain was due to the presence of thrush in my esophagus caused by the chemotherapy. I am very grateful to be alive, I advise people not to ignore any problem with your digestive system and never ever self diagnose as I did thinking I only had diarrhea. Comment from: Julie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 09 I have been having rectal pain for 9 months. I had a colonoscopy and 2 polyps removed but all clear. I am still in excruciating pain left side of anus and the back. It hurts to even touch. No hemorrhoids and no fissures. I was sent in for an MRI and was told it was all clear. I am at a loss now as I'm still in pain with no answers. I was told possibly an inflamed nerve but that was only a stab in the dark; doctor's words, not mine. I don't know where to go from here, I am worried about rectal cancer. Comment from: Daughter72, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 30 My mom was diagnosed with anal cancer. She has a mass outside her rectum the size of a lemon. It has shrunken with radiation. However now she has a strong foul smell that stinks up the entire house. I don't know why or what to do. Comment from: Struisman, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 16 My sister-in-law has been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and has had a colostomy bag for months now. She has had radiation therapy but has now complained it feels as though something is trying to push out of her rectum. She is going for an MRI on November 14th 2018 to look for spread to nodes, elsewhere in her organs, etc. She has loads and loads of pain. I wonder what rectal pressure can mean. Comment from: Patient, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 09 I went to urgent care after two days of having thin stools. I felt no pain, I felt extremely healthy, so they did an x-ray and told me I had fecal matter spread throughout my colon. I am still worried I might have colon or rectal cancer, I just turned 21. I go to the doctor's on Thursday and I'm going to hopefully find out then. I have seen stories where people blow this off for months, don't! I'm panicking and it's only been four days with thin stools. I hope you are all healed and I hope it is something minor. Comment from: Todd, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 19 I have temporal lobe epilepsy which caused irritable bowel symptoms - including hour-long movements and rare diarrhea. At age 50, I had a colonoscopy that was clean. Four months later, I entered into a study because I have HSIL (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) cells in my rectum (pre-cancerous). These cells are a direct result of being HPV positive. The experiment is a yearlong one to determine if removing the cells improves the odds of not developing rectal cancer. If you have a child, get her vaccinated for HPV. It could later save her life. QUESTION What are risk factors for developing colon cancer? See Answer Comment from: Help, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 30 I've been bleeding for months with bowel movements but have no insurance. I do have hemorrhoids but worried about rectal cancer. Comment from: sb, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 28 I have stage 4 anal cancer which metastasized to entire liver. I am 49 years old. If only I had gotten a colonoscopy a year or two ago! I am in my final days. I plead go get colonoscopy. It is painless. Rectal cancer is excruciatingly painful physically, psychology, emotionally. Prayers for my young adult children. I am completely and utterly heartbroken. Go get your colonoscopy. There is no rewind with this. Comment from: Matt, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 13 I have a concern maybe someone can help me. I used to be doing a bowel movement in 15 or 20 minutes maximum. Now it takes up to sometimes over an hour. They are small and mostly thin. I have small stomach pains every once in a while. After I've finished sometimes I'll have to go again for another hour or so and it's just a constant feeling like I have got to go. I am concerned about rectal cancer after reading a lot of the comments. Comment from: nascargmagma, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 05 I was bleeding for 2 weeks and thought it was hemorrhoids. On April 6 I had a bladder treatment. I gushed blood from rectum. I was 23 hour admit and showed my male nurse. I was told to get ahold of my family doctor when I returned home. I saw the doctor on the 10th, found mass that day. I saw my surgeon on Monday at 1:00 pm. The mass, blockage, etc., were confirmed. Surgery was set for Wednesday, for colonoscopy and endoscopy with biopsies under general anesthesia. Doctor came to recovery and told me he was sorry but he was 99 percent sure it was rectal cancer and very fast growing. Since I have had tests and surgeries, now an internal ultra sound upper and lower was done to see what stage it is. Tuesday I see family doctor, Wednesday, we get results of PET scan, and all others. I am deadly afraid. Comment from: gaye, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 05 I have Parkinson's, and the (med) I take makes me constipated a lot. I have regular scans every 3 years. There is a high rate of bowel cancer in my family, This year It had only been 2 years since my last scan, The only symptoms I had was thin Stools feeling bloated all the time. I told my GP I wanted to go early for a scan , The results were a polyp in my rectum , which had cancer in it, I have had several tests since, my doctor said it was early stages. He is keeping an eye on it, regular screenings. I hope I am doing the right thing. Comment from: Mom6x, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 04 I have stomach upset, frequent bowel movements, very foul odor, and concerned about rectal cancer. Comment from: Chris, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 15 I am just seeking information about the symptoms and what I should do in case I should develop rectal cancer. I have suffered from hemorrhoids in the past and as a result of which I am concerned and would really like to get more information. Thanks to those who shared their story, I appreciate your efforts and encouragement to share. Comment from: Gtown, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20 I thought it was constipation then I thought it was hemorrhoids, then came the bleeding for three months. I went in for colonoscopy and it revealed 2cm rectal mass. I am waiting for chemo, radiation, and a surgery date Comment from: may, 45-54 Female Published: February 10 For years I had suffered from irritable bowel, so I wasn't overly concerned about loose bowel. I started to feel as if I had a blockage but I didn't act on it. A couple of weeks after I got a bowel sample kit through the mail, I sent it away. I was asked to repeat it because there was blood in it. The next step was a scope. I was told there and then the blockage was a tumor in the rectum. I had five weeks of chemotherapy and radiation then seven weeks later major surgery. I have a stoma bag now, but I tell people that I would rather have a bag than a box! Comment from: alphamatic, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 23 6-7 months ago prior to being diagnosed with rectal cancer, I noticed that I have to go to washroom more than one time a day, which was my routine. It was not painful to have a bowel movement. I would think I was finished, but in a few minutes need to return to the bathroom. I told my family doctor, but he did not react very much for six month. After I had a bowel test through a cancer agency they told me I need to do spectroscopy which result was that have rectal cancer. Now they will start with chemo and radiation for five weeks, then a five-week break, and then surgery. I never had blood, pain or other sign to make me concerned about it. If you are over 50 years old let your family doctor write a bowel test every year for you. Comment from: VKN, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 03 Before being diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer I experienced the urge to defecate but would strain a lot and then only thin stool would come out. I would never feel fully finished. I also had blood in my stool. Comment from: Newsynurse, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20 Prior to being diagnosed with rectal cancer, I began to notice some bright red blood that seemed to be "wrapped around" the stool. It was not painful to have a bowel movement, but the shape would be different on different days, often looking like it had been pushed through a "Play Dough" machine--long and thin and star-shaped. I would think I was finished, but in a few minutes need to return to the bathroom. I also had a lot of gas after eating, even when I was very careful about my diet. My physician diagnosed me with hemorrhoidal bleeding because the blood was bright red. Please be aware that if the blood comes from the lower rectum it may be bright red, not dark as if coming from the upper colon. Also, sometimes I would pass strange mucous that did not have an odor like stool. After seven months of daily bleeding, I went to another doctor who took time to really listen. It took her less than five minutes during a rectal exam to feel the tumor; she referred me to a colon-rectal specialist who performed a colonoscopy the same week. I am now awaiting staging and a surgery/chemo/radiation plan from an oncology surgeon. Please note that the first doctor never bothered to perform a digital exam. Be persistent if you feel something is not right; if you simply have hemorrhoids that is just good news. I have no known risk factors other than age, and am a Registered Nurse. I also had a normal colonoscopy 10 years prior to diagnosis. Advocate for your own health! Published: June 10 Before I was actually diagnosed with rectal cancer, I experienced rectal bleeding and irregular bowel movements. Comment from: Vern, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 24 I had no pain or symptoms of any kind until one day I stood up from going to the toilet and the bowl was full of blood. I knew it was time to go to my doctor. I hoped that it was the world's worst case of hemorrhoids, but I had a feeling that it was far beyond that. Now four years of treatments, radiation, two rounds of chemo and four surgeries later, I am still here. My fear of having a colonoscopy was my worst enemy. As it turned out the test was nothing, and not having it done sooner was my biggest mistake ever. I advise everyone to be tested. Don't make my mistake. Comment from: thedarkman, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 24 The first symptom and in fact the only symptom for a long time was a small amount of blood in the stool. The doctor thought I had a bleeding hemorrhoid. This was followed by dark red blood showing up in the stool and also free of stool bleeding. Blood tests were negative for cancer even the day before surgery. I also had loose bowel movements about 18 months after the first symptom. Was informed by family doctor that I did not have cancer, when symptoms did not subside with his treatment I saw a specialist. It was then I was informed I had rectal/colon cancer (stage two) cancer had penetrated the colon wall but had not spread to the lymph nodes. I did not experience pain or cramps but an increase in bloating/gas pressure. I hope this helps someone. Comment from: [email protected], 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 20 I had blood in my stools and I noticed that my stools were very narrow (pencil like). I had NO pain whatsoever and decided to have a colonscopy just to be sure and it showed a 15cm growth. I will be starting chemo and radiation next week. Comment from: rena, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: April 08 My mother experienced pain, thin stools and the feeling that she wasn't emptying herself.