Dr. Jayesh Gori

Surgical Oncologist

Can Diarrhea Be a Symptom of Colon Cance?

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers. Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes for patients with colon cancer.

It may present as various symptoms, with diarrhea being one of them. In this article, we explore the importance of recognizing potential symptoms for early diagnosis.

Overview of Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer arises in the cells lining the large intestine (colon) or the rectum. It is often caused by genetic mutations, but lifestyle factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and high consumption of processed foods have also been identified as risk factors. 

Common symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Unintended weight loss

It’s crucial to monitor your health and be vigilant about any changes or abnormalities that could indicate a potential issue.

Diarrhoea: Causes and Symptoms

Diarrhoea refers to loose, watery stools that occur more frequently than usual. It can be caused by various factors, with viral or bacterial infections, food intolerances, certain medications, and stress being the most common causes.

Common symptoms associated with diarrhoea include:

  • Loose, watery stools
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Dehydration


Diarrhoea as a Symptom of Colon Cancer

Diarrhoea can be a symptom of colon cancer, but it’s essential to understand the context and consider other factors before jumping to conclusions.

Remember that while diarrhoea can be a potential indicator of colon cancer, and the primary cause of diarrhea may be colonic inflammation such as inflammatory bowel disease which in itself is a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Logical Reasoning

The connection between diarrhoea and colon cancer can be explained through logical reasoning as well.

Colon cancer often arises from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum, known as polyps.

As these polyps grow and potentially become cancerous, they can cause changes in bowel habits, including diarrhoea.

Colon cancer may lead to partial bowel obstruction, which can result in the build-up of fluid and stool in the colon.

This stagnant stool then liquifies to present as what is known as ‘spurious diarrhea’.

It’s also worth noting that inflammatory conditions plays a role in colon cancer development.

Chronic inflammation of the colon, such as that seen in inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can increase the risk of colon cancer.

Diarrhoea is a common symptom of these inflammatory conditions, further supporting the potential link between diarrhoea and colon cancer.

That said, if you experience chronic or persistent diarrhoea, especially in combination with other concerning symptoms mentioned above, it’s better to consult a qualified oncologist for further evaluation.

Importance of Medical Evaluation

If you’re experiencing persistent or unexplained diarrhoea, especially alongside other concerning symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention.

A cancer specialist can conduct a thorough evaluation, including physical exams, diagnostic tests, and screening procedures for colon cancer.

Early detection and diagnosis of colon cancer are critical for successful treatment and improved outcomes.

Regular check-ups, following recommended screening guidelines, and consulting a healthcare professional when experiencing persistent or worrisome symptoms can make all the difference.


In summary, diarrhoea can be a symptom of colon cancer, but it’s important to consider other accompanying symptoms and individual factors as well.

Maintain regular check-ups, follow recommended screening guidelines, and consult a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing persistent or worrisome symptoms.

Remember, early detection and treatment are crucial in the fight against colon cancer.

Stay proactive about your health, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions.

Your well-being is worth the effort, and taking the necessary steps to stay informed and vigilant can help ensure a healthier future.