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How can one tell the difference between bleeding from piles or colon cancer?

Gastroenterology Cancer Colorectal Surgery

I have been told that both piles (hemorrhoids) and colon cancer can cause blood in stools. How can I distinguish between the two causes for bleeding in stools?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Piles’ bleeding often occurs after passing motion and typically presents with bright red blood. 

It should be noted that colon cancer seldom bleeds with visible blood in the stools until it is very advanced (that is why the stool tests are used to detect unseen blood in the stools), or if the tumour is situated very near the anus. 

A very common scenario faced by patients is that of an “asymptomatic” colon cancer (i.e. no obvious symptoms and no visible blood seen in the stools) with piles.  They often ignore or mistake their symptoms as being “due to piles” resulting in a delayed diagnosis of their cancer.

There are no “early warning signs” of colon cancer.  By the time the signs and symptoms occur, it is often in a late stage.  Get screened before your symptoms develop.

To understand more about getting a colonoscopy in Singapore, read The Complete Guide To Colonoscopies In Singapore (2018).


Dr Jason Lim
MBBS, MRCS (Ed), M Med(Surg), FRCS (Ed), FAMS

JASON LIM ENDOSCOPY & SURGERY (NOVENA)
38 IRRAWADDY ROAD
MOUNT ELIZABETH NOVENA SPECIALIST CENTRE
#05 - 49 Singapore 329563

558 views 21 Aug 2018
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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