Do Men and Women Have Different Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

0

While there are slightly more incidences of colorectal cancer in men (71,860 new cases projected in the U.S. in 2014) than women (65,000), both men and women generally exhibit the same symptoms of the disease, according to Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, clinical director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

“Many patients don’t have symptoms, but they’re diagnosed because they get a screening colonoscopy,” says Meyerhardt. Common symptoms for patients who do show signs of colon or rectal cancer include blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Some patients also have symptoms related to anemia, including increased tiredness or shortness of breath, or may be found to be anemic from routine blood work.

The risk factors for colorectal cancer—which include age, family history of the disease, or having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis—are also similar for men and women, Meyerhardt says. However, some lifestyle choices can also increase risk. These include obesity, lack of physical activity, low vitamin D, and consuming a high amount of red meat, which may differ between men and women.

For more information on colon or rectal cancer risk factors, symptoms, and treatment, visit our Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology.

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-442-9599

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners.

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Here's what you need to know about the PD-L1 test: https://t.co/nCNu7egQlU https://t.co/c47EPTePIz
Dana-Farber @danafarber
Immunotherapy gives retired dentist and #melanoma patient a reason to smile. https://t.co/XgVlWttTsY https://t.co/oDE3uGQ26L
Dana-Farber @danafarber
Learn how to check your skin & remember to practice sun safety this #MemorialDayWeekend! ☀️ https://t.co/MBcHrjydLFhttps://t.co/M8GgmhEUCe

Republish our posts on your blog

Interested in sharing one of our stories on your blog? Feel free to republish this content! We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context. Questions? Email the editors at insight_blog@dfci.harvard.edu.