Although blood in the stool is one of the signs of cancer of the colon or rectum, known as colorectal cancer, there are other causes for this. Anal tears and hemorrhoids will often leave bright red blood on the stool or tissue. If the blood is darker or appears black, the source of the problem is likely higher up in the digestive tract.

Because there are many possible explanations for bloody poop, including colorectal cancer, it’s best to see your medical provider as soon as possible. If you are age 50 or older and have not been screened for colorectal cancer, then you are due for this. If there is colorectal cancer in your family or you have certain diseases of the colon, the recommended age for screening is lower.