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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Colon and Rectal Cancers

Question: IBS or cancer?

 Smartpatrol9 - Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:24 am

I'm an 18 year old male, and being 18, I highly doubt it's cancer. But you never know. For the past few months, I've been having random nausea that can last for any length of time, constipation, really soft diahrehea, and stomach aches. I saw my doctor and he said he thinks it's IBS. Suppposedly it's not hereditary, but my mom does have it. I think it might be colon cancer, but then again, maybe I'm just paranoid. Please help.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Jun 23, 2007 2:52 am

User avatar Hello,

Your symptoms can be associated with many diseases of the colon. Most commonly they are associated with irritable bowel syndrome. However, the most dangerous cause is colon cancer as you mentioned.

In clinical practice it is important to exclude the most dangerous possibility. This is done using an analysis of symptoms, a physical examination and if necessary some diagnostic and screening tests.

Given the limitations of the internet we are only able to assess your symptoms, however, the fact that you have been to a doctor should also be reassuring.

Exclusion of cancer starts by assessing the patient's risk and the presence of any alarming signs. These alarming signs include age over 50, dysphagia, protracted vomitting, anorexia and unexplained weight loss (>3kg) as the presence of signs of gastrointestinal bleeding and a palpable mass on examination.

Regarding irritable bowel syndrome, there are valuable clinical criteria which help in our assessment. One such set of criterias is known as the Rome II Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Given that there are no alarming signs and the Rome Criteria are met, it is safe to follow the patient at a later date.

Best regards, and let me know if you have any further questions.

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