Rectal bleeding is a key symptom of colorectal cancer, but there are also a number of other benign causes. Tumours often bleed intermittently, so careful history taking is vital if other concerning symptoms are present.
NICE NG12 guidelines recommends referring adults using a suspected cancer pathway referral (for an appointment within 2 weeks) if they are 50 and over with unexplained rectal bleeding; and to consider a referral in adults aged under 50 with rectal bleeding and any of the following unexplained symptoms or findings:
- abdominal pain
- change in bowel habit
- weight loss
- iron‑deficiency anaemia.
Cancer Keys are brought to you by GatewayC.
Find out more:
- Download this Cancer Key here
- Read NICE NG12 guidance here
- Access GatewayC’s Colorectal Cancer – Early Diagnosis course here