Ok...here's the deal...I'm 20 years old and I think I have colon cancer. Now before you roll your eyes and immediately start throwing statistics at me, hear me out. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when I was 15 years old. I have been on Remicade for about four years and recently the effects seem to be diminishing.So, I went in for a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. They found three small polyps in my cecum (1-2mm) and one mid-sized polyp in my mid ascending colon (6-8mm). Also, there were large discontinuous areas of inflammation in my ascending and descending colon with large amounts of adherent mucus. They removed all of the polyps and took tissue samples for histology and virology (they are testing for C.difficile =/) I have looked up the chances of having colon cancer and I understand that I am at a greater risk because of a couple of factors, like Crohn's and multiple polyps. But also I know that it is unlikely that i have it due to my age and the size of the polyps themselves. I guess what I am looking for is a straightforward answer on the probability of me having colon cancer that takes everything into account. Everything that I've read says it is unlikely that people under 50 would have colon cancer but that's usually in people that have not been diagnosed with some sort of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I'm kind of a hypochondriac so i just want some sort of answer that will set my mind at ease on the issue. At this point I don't care whether I have it or not, I just don't want to be in the dark anymore.
People who develop colon cancer at a young age like yourself usually have an hereditary colon disease in the family like FAP ( Familial Adenomatous Polyposis). There are two forms, one is where thousands of polyps develop in the colon between the age of 8 and the teen years. With the attenuated form, polyps develop slowly and just a few at a time. With one cancer develops by their late 30's, the other by their 40's. It is very rare for one your age to develop polyps. Is there any history of colon cancer at a young age in your family? I'm sure your doctor has already asked you this. Often since the polyps cause no symtpoms until a later age when they turn cancerous, it is often thru a child that they learn the disease is in the family, and one of the parents has to have it. Because you have developed polyps so young, you will need to be scoped on a regular basis to watch for more polyps to develop. Fortunately, they are easily removed during the scope. I think the important thing to realize is that you have a heads up to be vigilant with this, often it is too late when one learns they have had polyps for enough time to develop cancer. If your doctors have ruled out FAP in your family, then I feel just being vigilant with this will keep you cancer free. You want any new polyps to be found early and removed. I'm sure your doctor has you on a schedule for additional scopes to do this. I wouldn't worry about this, just remain vigilant and you may never develop anopther polyp. After you have gone a certain amount of time with no polyps they will scope you less often. Hope this helps and take care.
I am not aware of any colon cancer in my family, but then I am not aware of my mother's family history at all because she was adopted. I have always assumed that my Dad has some mild form of IBS but he has never gone to the doctor's to get it checked out. He recently turned 50 so I'll definitely be pushing for him to get a colonoscopy at the very least. I guess it's possible that I could have FAP due to a lack of information from either side of my family. I will talk to my doctor about this new development. Thank you so much for the advice and the info. =)
Yes, it's time for your father to have a colonoscopy, we all need to start having them at 50! Your doctor will be able to answer your questions on this, please let me know what he has to say. One of your parents would have to have FAP for you to have it. FAP is in our family and this is why I get very concerned when young people develop polyps. Take care.
Its not cancer!! Whoo! Big sigh of relief! However, my colon was so inflamed that i had increased my risk of developing polyps and cancer. I've been put on prednisone steroids(ewww!) and i have to meet with my doctor about my future medications and how to better address this disease. (possibly surgery but I'll deal when the time comes). I just thought i should share my good news! =)
Thanx! They still believe that it's Crohn's Disease, but it has gotten worse.He said that because of the severity of the inflammation I was more susceptible to developing polyps...and therefore colon cancer. However, like you said, he believes that if we stay on top the disease and schedule more frequent scopes we should be able to catch anything that could possibly turn into anything more serious. I am meeting with him again in mid Dec. to discuss future treatment options, but for right now I'm on prednisone (ewww) and a PPI. Im not sure if I will stay on the remicade (like i have been for the past four years) but I guess we'll see. Thank you so much for your support and concern. Its nice to know I have somewhere to turn to when things go south. =) Take care!
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