Cancer Keys: Rectal Bleeding

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Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is a key symptom of colorectal cancer, but there are also a lot of benign causes. What can help you to assess the significance?

Potential pitfall

Patients and GPs might be falsely reassured by the fact that rectal bleeding has stopped. Tumours often bleed intermittently so this should not stop a suspected cancer referral if other concerning symptoms are present.

Helpful hint

Rectal examination is essential. Bleeding from piles does not usually result in blood on the examining finger so if on removal, blood is found on the examining digit, this may be indicative of a pathology other than haemorrhoids and a suspected cancer referral should be made.

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