Cancer Keys: Rectal Bleeding
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Welcome to Cancer Keys, a regular bite-sized learning column brought to you by GatewayC in collaboration with Cancer Research UK.
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?
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.
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.