Signs & Symptoms of Terminal Colon Cancer

Updated April 17, 2017

According to the American Cancer Society colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. There may be no signs or symptoms until late in the disease, which could make it terminal. Also many of the symptoms could be the result of many other diseases or conditions. By the time colon cancer reaches the terminal or end stage, it most often has spread to other organs.


There are many different types of pain with many causes. Pain can be a late symptom. Even in terminal colon cancer, pain type and intensity vary depending on where the cancer is in the colon and how far it has spread. In some terminal cancers of the colon, you may get a colicky pain that is made worse by eating. You may experience pain because the cancer is compressing or destroying nerves on parts of the colon. This is often the case in end-stage colon cancer.

Bloody Bowel Movements

Another sign that terminal colon cancer is serious is blood in your bowel movements. It could be bright red blood or your stool might be black and tarry looking. Black bowel movements are more serious than bright red ones. The appearance of blood may be constant or intermittent. You may not be able to see blood at all, but it still could be present. Growing tumours in the colon often bleed. Other illnesses and conditions also cause blood in a bowel movement.

Intestinal Obstruction

As colon cancer advances, growth of tumours in the colon increase in size. You may notice skinny bowel movements. Eventually the tumour causes a blockage of food moving through your colon and improper digestion. Usually vomiting occurs shortly after eating. You cannot get enough nutrition if your food cannot be digested because of this blockage.

Unexplained Anemia

Anemia means that you do not have enough red blood cells to supply your body with the necessary amount of oxygen it needs. Fatigue is often a symptom of anaemia because the red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to your organs. If you have terminal colon cancer, the anaemia may be the result of constant, tiny amounts of bleeding in the stool. The anaemia is not usually caused by large amounts of blood lost directly into the stool. Low iron results from this persistent bleeding. This causes anaemia.

Unexplained Weight Loss

In terminal colon cancer, you lose weight for no apparent reason. Unexplained weight loss frequently goes along with fatigue.

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About the Author

Susan Berg has a BS degree in Medical Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an AS degree as a Certified Occupational Therapy AssistantCOTA/L) - North Shre Community College-Massachusetts. She is as a Certified Dementia Practitioner(CDP), .Berg has written for 10 years. She authored the book, "Adorable Photographs of Our Baby", and currently writes for "Activity Director Today" and "Current Activities in Geriatric Care".