Colorectal cancer is a disease where cancer cells develop uncontrollably in the colon or rectum.  Colorectal cancer, also known as colon or rectal cancer, is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in Puerto Rico in men and women; according to the Central Registry of Puerto Rico between 2015-2019.  In its early stages, this cancer does not produce symptoms and may have silent stage up to 10 years.  

Most Frequent Symptoms

  • Change in bowel pattern (diarrhea or constipation)
  • Blood in bowel movements/rectal bleeding
  • Fine bowel movements in pencil form
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent abdominal pain, discomfort, or cramps
  • Weight loss and fatigue

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Check for regular colon and rectal cancer screening.  Preventive tests may include:

  • Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Virtual colonoscopy

In Puerto Rico, the occult blood test can be performed annually from the age of forty, as a preventive measure.  From the age of 45 people can have a colonoscopy to evaluate the colon and detect in time any polyp that may exist.  When colon cancer is detected in early stages it can be curable.  Talk to your doctor or gastroenterologist about the risk factors you may have and clarify the right screening test for you. 

By: Tania Mangual-Monzón, MS, BHE 


Asociación Puertorriqueña de Gastroenterología
Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades
Registro Central de Cáncer de Puerto Rico