Small Bowel Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with small bowel cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can identify and describe, such as fatigue, nausea, or pain. A sign is something that other people can identify and measure, such as a fever, rash, or an elevated pulse. Together, signs and symptoms can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with small bowel cancer do not have any of the signs and symptoms described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Blood in the stool (feces)

  • Dark/black stools

  • Diarrhea

  • A lump in the abdomen

  • Pain or cramps in the abdomen

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Episodes of abdominal pain that may be accompanied by severe nausea or vomiting

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.