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Identifying Colon Cancer Symptoms


Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, is a slow-growing disease that develops in the large intestine, often from a noncancerous polyp.

At Dignity Health, our cancer doctors offer tests and screenings, such as colonoscopy, for the detection and prevention of colon cancer. To learn more about colon cancer symptoms in the Bay Area, meet with one of our experienced oncologists. For the services you need, Find a Doctor at one of our world-class cancer care centers and hospitals in the Bay Area.

Signs of Colon Cancer

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer don’t appear until much later in the disease. When they do occur, they can include:

  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood or very dark stool
  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Anemia, or low red blood cell count
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing of the stool

You should get a diagnosis from your doctor since other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, have similar symptoms.

Colon Cancer Diagnosis at Dignity Health

The best way to stay on top of your colorectal health is to get regular cancer screenings, such as colonoscopy. Screening can help your doctor detect precancerous polyps before symptoms develop, when the condition is highly treatable.

To diagnose colon cancer, your doctor reviews your medical history, performs a detailed physical exam, and may recommend:

  • Blood tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) and tumor markers
  • Imaging exams, including MRI scan, CT scan, PET scan, and ultrasound
  • Colonoscopy, to get a tissue sample or remove polyps 

Talk with your doctor about when you should start screenings for colon cancer.

At Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area, our skilled oncologists diagnose signs and symptoms of colon cancer in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.