Can hemorrhoids lead to rectal or colon cancer?

James D. Lewis, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Can hemorrhoids lead to rectal or colon cancer?  
Thank you.

James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

There is no reason to believe that hemorrhoids lead to colorectal cancer. However, the symptoms of hemorrhoids are often similar to those of colorectal cancer or anal cancer. Some symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • rectal bleeding
  • blood in the stool
  • blood on the stool
  • blood in the toilet bowl
  • blood on the tissue paper
As such, it is important to see your doctor to have these symptoms evaluated. If you are concerned about of have any of these symptoms you should see your physician for an examination.

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