Nearly every condition or disease of the human body shows some form of symptom at one point or another. It’s all but inevitable that symptoms of one disease can also be signs of one or more other conditions of the body, which can make diagnosing complicated. Often, symptoms that are thought to be tell-tale signs of one disease are actually caused by something entirely different, which can diminish one’s chances of survival.
The longer medical professionals are under the impression a symptom is caused by the wrong disease, the actual disease has more time to cause havoc and possibly spread. In the case of colorectal cancers, there are many symptoms which are often mistaken as signs of another, often less worrisome, disease.


This disease is defined by the National Cancer Institute as inflammation of one or more of the pouches that line the wall of the colon. Some of the symptoms of diverticulitis include the presence of blood in the stool, nausea, vomiting, or lower abdominal pain. All of those symptoms are also common signs of colon and rectal cancers.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This intestinal disorder is also referred to as mucus colitis or spastic colon. Some of the symptoms of this condition include abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea. Those are very common symptoms of colorectal cancers, and since IBS is typically not regarded as a dangerous condition, if colorectal cancer is mistaken as IBS, the cancer may go undiagnosed and untreated until it’s too late.

Crohn’s Disease

Defined as a condition in which the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed over a long period of time, this can also be called regional enteritis. Some of the more well known symptoms of Crohn’s disease are stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss for no apparent reason. Any of those symptoms can also signal the possibility of colon or rectal cancer.

Hemorrhoids and Anal Fissures

These conditions of the rectum are very painful and can often trigger bleeding from the rectum. This blood can then be discovered in one’s stool, which is also the most common symptom of colorectal cancer. However, hemorrhoids and anal fissures are typically not life-threatening conditions. Therefore, if colorectal cancer is mistaken as either of those conditions, the cancer may be extremely advanced before its presence is finally discovered. This makes treatment very difficult, and typically less successful.

Female Menstrual Cycle

Though certainly not a disease, a woman’s menstrual cycle does have its own side effects, which could possibly be mistaken with symptoms for colon and rectal cancer. Naturally, abdominal cramping occurs often both before and during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Abdominal cramping can be confused with intestinal cramping very easily.

There are many conditions of the body that share symptoms with colorectal cancer, making the prospect of misdiagnosis much more likely than it would be otherwise. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Georgia and feel it was missed or discovered later than it should have been by your physician, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer… Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, or contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice and colorectal cancer lawyer at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 for more information and to schedule a free consultation.