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Blood in your poop: what it looks like & what it could mean

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Poop: a window to your health and a valuable warning system of a problem

inside your body. Keeping an eye on your poop is an important step in being aware

of colorectal cancer and identifying early signs of the disease.

Hi! I'm Dr. Shady Ashamalla, a surgeon who specializes in colorectal cancer.

Because it involves bums and poop people often shy away from talking about colorectal cancer.

I want to change that because the more we talk the more we know and the

better we can find colorectal cancers early.

The colon takes in water and nutrients from the food we eat

and then passes the waste to the rectum and voila — poop.

Colorectal cancer is when cancer cells begin to grow out of control in

the colon or rectum, first forming a cluster of cells called a polyp, and

eventually becoming a cancer as the cells burrow deeper and deeper into the

wall of the colon. These polyps can cause changes in the frequency or shape of

your poop. And because the polyps and eventual

cancers are growing on the inner lining of the bowel, they can also bleed into

the bowel and that blood then becomes incorporated with the stool as it passes through.

So what does that blood in your poop actually look like?

Blood in your poop can be caused by a variety of things but let's imagine what the blood

in your poop might look like if it's coming from a colorectal cancer.

First, let's say the cancer is on the right side of the colon. That's the beginning

of this very long organ and the furthest from the exit, your anus.