Most people fear a diagnosis of colorectal cancer more than anything when they have gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common are bleeding with bowel movements or abdominal pain. Change in bowel habits, color and consistency of the stool and other eating symptoms are less commonly associated with colorectal cancer. Although the majority of patients with any of these problems turn out NOT to have colorectal cancer, these kind of symptoms need to be checked out by a specialist.
Unlike other malignancies, colorectal cancer is VERY curable, especially if it is caught in its earlier stages. Most patients will need to undergo surgery to have the tumor removed. The surgeries are often well-tolerated and almost every patient is able to return to their prior level of activity and eating habits. Most patients DO NOT need a bag or an ostomy as part of their surgery and if they do it's typically only temporary. Some patients will need further treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy after surgery. These are often also well-tolerated and they help improve the chance for a complete cure.