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Author Topic: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?  (Read 792 times)

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Offline Air Nomad

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I HATE this anxiety.  If it's not one thing it's another.  Right now I'm really worried about colon/bowel cancer, but I'm afraid to ask Dr. Google and I'm really not sure how I would realistically know if I had it (realistically = not thrown out of proportion by HA).

My symptoms are:
-Loose stools occasionally, sometimes diarrhea, usually in the morning after drinking coffee (I know this exacerbates it for me).
-If not loose stools, my stools are still usually very soft (again, after drinking coffee in the morning).  Sometimes I have a normal, pristine bowel movement thrown in there but it's a rarity.
-Occasional twinges/pangs of discomfort in my pelvic region that I'm not sure is uterine/ovarian associated with female stuff or if it's bowel related.
-Sometimes I feel discomfort when bearing down as though to have a bowel movement, but since I tend to want to "test" it to see if it actually hurts I'm not sure if I'm imagining it or if it's really there.  I feel the discomfort (not pain exactly) from my rectum up always to my navel.  Again not sure if it's from womanly stuff (I'm prone to cysts) or not.  I want to say that if I were imagining this, I wouldn't feel the discomfort thought :-\  Could internal hemorrhoids cause this?  Seems like it would be localized lower down your rectum if it were...
-Occasional pain, like gas pain, in my lower intestine region that isn't always alleviated by passing gas and hurts when I have a bowel movement.  Doesn't last longer than a day or two and doesn't happen that frequently.  Could it be IBS?  Ugh, too many possibilities.
-No bleeding but I've read that doesn't always occur with colon cancer.

Some pertinent information:
-I was actually diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago when I was only 24.  No family history.  Since then, every TINY LITTLE thing is cancer this, cancer that.  It's absolutely debilitating.  I know the statistics for colon cancer are extremely rare in people under 50 but honestly statistics mean very little to me now.  I guess that's why this is terrifying me.
-No family history of colon cancer (or any cancers that I'm aware of), but like I said... ^^

Can anyone PLEASE help me with this??  I'm going completely crazy worrying over this because I don't know what's really a worrisome symptom of colon/bowel cancer and what's not.  I cry so much thinking of leaving my precious 13 month old son without a mommy :traurig001:  The thought of that is excruciating.  Please help!!
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
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(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Offline Lunatone

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 10:27:34 AM »
The pain is real, as are the symptoms. But they have been massively exaggerated by your fear. Anxiety causes problems with your digestive system... Not real, dangerous problems, but disruptive ones. Your metabolism actually slows down during anxiety events, which doesnt help since you're already terrified.

So basically. If you have an anxiety disorder, and you are getting these problems, that's probably why. I offer this advice to people with anxiety worried about health problems: google your symptoms, but also put the word "Anxiety" in the search. Once you get a few thousand pages of people asking if your symptoms are anxiety, it becomes easier to accept.
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Offline Brick5711

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 10:37:10 AM »
I was 22 and I had a 4 cm colon polyp removed. Pre-cancerous. I bleed. To this day I am terrified of colon cancer. I hate going to the bathroom. It scares me. It's time to have a follow up colonoscopy and I am afraid of what they will find. I am also afraid to not get one. You have had cancer before. How are all your scans? Talk to your doctor. Doesn't sounds to me like you have anything wrong though.
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Online ceh1354

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 10:43:38 AM »
I can understand your fears, given your situation and past.

I had colon cancer fear a few years back and, according to what my Dr. told me at the time, none of what you said sounds like cc. The biggest key to it all is the "occasionally" or "sometimes". Symptoms when you have this occur all the time and do not vanish and then come back and vanish again.
Soft poo doesn't mean cancer, as I found out after months of suffering with fear.
All of these, however, could be attributed to anxiety. The digestive system is usually the first area to be hit when anxiety kicks in.
Sorry you are going through this. Try to keep it in mind each time you start to worry again. A talk with your Dr. may help. It's embarrassing, I know, but they have heard it all.
Feel better!
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Offline Air Nomad

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 12:19:38 PM »
Thanks for your replies, everyone.

Brick5711 - sorry to hear that.  I can understand how scary it is.  All my subsequent scans have been clear, but it's been 2 years since I've had one because I was pregnant and then breastfeeding.  I have one coming up now and am absolutely terrified.  What was your colonoscopy like?  Was it painful?  My mother-in-law had a terrible experience with one - numbed her entire foot to where she couldn't walk and part of it is still numb to this day.  Also, what were your symptoms?

ceh1354 - Thanks so much for the reassurance.  I really hope you're right.  The past hour I've actually been having little twinges again but not so much up front (uterus/ovaries) are but actually further back where I imagine my rectum is :(  I'm really scared.  I mentioned this to my doctor at my appt the other day and she didn't seem too worried but said to keep an eye on it.
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
Sokka: "No, I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really."
-Avatar: the Last Airbender
(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Offline Brick5711

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 01:09:05 PM »
My colonoscopy was fine. The not eating was the worst for me. Lol. The solution wasn't bad and I never had any pain. A far as symptoms, just bleeding off and on until it started every day. But that was over about 5 or 6 years. Bowel movements. Well, they never concern me about size, or soft or hard. Mine are always different. I truly think it depends on what you eat. Of course, diahrrea or oencil thin stools, or constant constipation is something to be checked out. My grandmother had colon cancer and never had any bleeding though. She just had pain in her side. To me, no cancer has an age limit. Our foods and culture are totally different today than they were even ten years ago, much less twenty. I believe all of this changes the age limit to caner
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Offline Air Nomad

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 01:51:23 PM »
Bowel movements. Well, they never concern me about size, or soft or hard. Mine are always different. I truly think it depends on what you eat. Of course, diahrrea or oencil thin stools, or constant constipation is something to be checked out. My grandmother had colon cancer and never had any bleeding though. She just had pain in her side. To me, no cancer has an age limit. Our foods and culture are totally different today than they were even ten years ago, much less twenty. I believe all of this changes the age limit to caner

Yeah, I really think it depends on what you eat too.  I eat SUPER healthy - tons of fresh veggies and fruits and make organic raw juices regularly - so that robably has something to do with my softer stools, lol.  And I totally agree about the food.  There are hidden toxins in most mainstream food these days that I believe are slowly killing us.  Once I started doing research (after my cancer diagnosis), I was shocked and appalled and what I found in our food.  No doubt in my mind that's why there's so much cancer today.
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
Sokka: "No, I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really."
-Avatar: the Last Airbender
(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Online ceh1354

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 02:52:13 PM »
I agree with you both about the food thing, chemicals and additives have definitely contributed to the problem.

On the topic of stools, it doesn't bother me any more either after my episode. Mine pretty much are different all the time too and tend to not pay it much attention.
I did ultimately end up having a colonoscopy after about a year and a half. They basically did it to calm my fears and insurance covered me for it. But not everyone has that luxury and they have to pay out of pocket, so I always try to encourage people to overcome the fears on their own. It's difficult I know, though.
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Offline Air Nomad

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 02:59:20 PM »
I did ultimately end up having a colonoscopy after about a year and a half. They basically did it to calm my fears and insurance covered me for it. But not everyone has that luxury and they have to pay out of pocket, so I always try to encourage people to overcome the fears on their own. It's difficult I know, though.

Yes, that's good advice.  But how do you overcome that small voice inside that says, "But WHAT IF this time it really is something this time?"  Especially when you have had something life-threatening before?  Even though the likelihood is small, it's still a legitimate question, especially to us HA-ers.  So how do you balance when to run to the doctor in case it really is something (you wouldn't want to miss if it it was, right?) with trying to conquer your fears and wait it out?
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
Sokka: "No, I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really."
-Avatar: the Last Airbender
(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Online ceh1354

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2014, 03:14:55 PM »
Well, I have to say, for me having that one big test first helped. I had it and all was OK, even though I was having what I thought were serious and very scary symptoms. I mean, I was the same as you- every twinge, every pain was telling me that I was dying.
So in all honesty it got easier for me after I did have the colonoscopy. And the HA didn't totally go away either, I still have it. It's just that it is a bit easier for me now not to freak out. I do fight it though at time. HA stinks!!!
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Offline Brick5711

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 05:22:30 PM »
Well, I haven't overcome the managing it. After I initially had the colonoscopy and results, I was better. Until I got my letter for a follow up. Now I am all freaked out about cancer again. I eat much healthier than I did before. Most of my meat is fresh. Deer, chicken. For me, I knew something was wrong the first time. I had to schedule my own GI appt because my GP said I had hemorrhoids.
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Offline Air Nomad

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 09:20:44 AM »
Sorry to revive this thread, but I'm really so scared.  I can't seem to talk myself down from this fear, and I guess in large part because I don't know how I'd know if I had colon cancer.  I had very loose stool again this morning, bordering on diarrhea.  I have loose or very soft stool like this every morning, just once.  I tried drinking decaf coffee instead of regular this morning to see if that would help but it didn't (I know the caffeine in coffee makes me go).  I'm so worried :(

It doesn't seem to matter what I eat.  The other night I ate a huge burger and fries at Red Robin and still had super soft stool the morning after.  :(
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
Sokka: "No, I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really."
-Avatar: the Last Airbender
(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Offline Brick5711

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 10:45:52 AM »
Is this a change from normal. A sudden change in stools that stays is worth investigating. I would not assume colon cancer just from that though. It can be IBS. I would talk to your doctor for sure. You do have a cancer past. Did you have genetic testing done when you had your breast cancer?
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Offline Air Nomad

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 11:54:00 AM »
Is this a change from normal. A sudden change in stools that stays is worth investigating. I would not assume colon cancer just from that though. It can be IBS. I would talk to your doctor for sure. You do have a cancer past. Did you have genetic testing done when you had your breast cancer?

It started about 5 years ago, when I started drinking coffee again after a long hiatus.  At first it just made me go in the morning (normal bowel movements).  Eventually my stools became softer and softer.  Now they are very soft or loose most of the time.  Once in a while I have a "normal" (my used-to-be normal) bowel movement.  The color is always normal - medium brown (of course depending on what I eat).

I did have genetic testing done and all tests were negative.
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Sokka: "Do you want me to be like you or be totally honest?"
Katara: "Are you saying I'm a liar?"
Sokka: "No, I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing really."
-Avatar: the Last Airbender
(This is me and my husband to a tee)

Offline Hypo84

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Re: Really scared - Colon/bowel cancer? How would I know if I had it?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 12:05:51 PM »
If your stools started to change 5 years ago, then it can't have any connection with colon cancer because you would get much worse by now, so in that regards you are fine.

I've heard of breast cancer at your age, but colon cancer at your age is just very unlikely, and to get 2 different cancers by the age of 29...I think it's just theoretically possible.

Finally, only way to 100% convince yourself is to do colonoscopy.
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