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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Colon and Rectal Cancers

Question: 19 year old male worried about Colon Cancer

 akhater89 - Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:24 pm


I am a 19 year old male. For the past two months I have had abdominal discomfort that is pretty much constant. It usually occurs in the lower left quadrant, but it also moves around to other places in my abdomen. I don't remember for how long, but I have had to strain to move bowel. I don't think it is constipation because I can go at least once a day. I also think that my stool may be thinner and sometimes flatter. I went to the doctor twice, but they said that I'm too young and that I shouldn't worry. However the symptoms have not gone away.

For the past six months my weight has been roughly around 160. However, I used to be 180 about a year and a half ago. I did not have a scale so I don't know how long it took for me to lose that weight. I wasn't trying to lose weight. My doctor says that she can only take weight loss into account if I was checking it regularly.

About a month ago I went to the ER for a strong tension headache and they did blood work and said that I did not have anemia. They also did urine test. Since I've read that abdominal pain and weight loss only occur in late stages of colon cancer, and if I did have a late stage of colon cancer I would have anemia, I'm hoping that since I don't have anemia I don't have cancer.

My doctor says just take fish oil and I'll be fine. I have been taking it but nothing has changed.

What do think it could be? Should I just wait to see if it goes away?

 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:28 pm

User avatar Hello,
I agree with the doctor's opinion that colon cancer would be way down the list of likely problems - not impossible; just highly unlikely.

I would concentrate on making healthy diet and exercise choices, drinking plenty of water and taking a multivitamin along with the fish oil. Then give yourself time, trying not to worry and stress, since this can aggravate abdominal pain and GI function. If no improvement, see your doctor again. Meanwhile, make a journal of your weight fluctuation, symptoms, etc. so you will have a good record.

Best wishes.
 seeandbelieve99 - Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:16 pm

Hi there.

I've had colitis since the summer of 2007, and have general been in remission. However, in the last month or so, i've had a relapse and have started bleeding both on the stool, and in the water and i've been experiencing more cramping which makes me go to the toilet. When i go to the toilet, it's often 'explosive' and with a sense of urgence, and sometimes i go without passing much stool.

Additionally, the stools are somtimes curled and in the last day or two, i've noticed some small black spots on the stool. Sometimes i feel there's less blood in the water, but then again, i'm still bleeding and going three times a day (as opposed to once or twice when i was in remission).

To summarise, does all this information mean something other than a simple flare-up?


Please write back, asap.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:27 pm

User avatar Hello,
The symptoms you describe can easily be attributed to a flare up. But, there is no way to be sure without having regular exams with your doctor as this condition sometimes results in the development of colon cancer. For this reason it is important to have followup care with your doctor who can monitor for complications. Most doctors want to see their patients when they have a flare up.

You are also at risk for anemia due to blood loss so this should be monitored as well.

Be sure to follow your doctor's dietary guidelines, eat apples without the seeds or peels. During a flare-up, move to a low fiber diet but once it is resolved resume the increased fiber. Also, take a good multivitamin and eat a balanced, healthy diet. Try to decrease stress and avoid ibuprofen or other OTC anti-inflammatory medications.

Good luck with this frustrating condition.
 seeandbelieve99 - Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:05 pm

Hi again. Thanks for the help. The doctor suggested taking the asacol enema as he considered it a mild flare up. However, in the past, i found using made me want to go to toilet straight afterwards and didn't see the benefits. He also said i could take steroids if it got worse, but i really don't want to take them, due to their side-effects.
Therefore, i'm relying taking my current meds and a diet of baked potatoes, tuna, salmon, rice and various wheat-free and gluten-free products [meats, biscuits, etc]. I've got an appointment with my doctor in a month or two, but until then, i'm hoping i'll get better in the meantime [same thing as i did on previous flare up].
Also, i've noticed i'm going to bed earlier now, and waking up early - going to bed around 9 or 10pm and waking up around 6 or 7am. I'm getting my 7 hours sleep, but i was wondering why the change? I was going to bed around 1 or 2am and waking up at 11am or noon, before Christmas Day.

Thanks again.

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