OK, when I was 17/18 I noticed blood in the toilet and it scared the living **** outta me... literally I was almost sure I was gonna die and so on and so on... You would think this fear would push me to go to the doctor... But being the kind of person who keeps themselves to themselves I didn't go. Anyway, the point of this rant / article is for people like me who are sitting, worrying that they have some kind of colon cancer / rectal cancer and are too scared to go to the doctors as they expect they will be told they are dying.
IT IS NOT TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE OK AND DO NOT NEED TO GO!!!!
Firstly lets look at the symptoms:
Blood in toilet / on toilet paper
Stomach Pains / Gas / Bloating
Light Headedness / headaches (Anemia)
How common is Colon Cancer in under 20's, under 50's and what are the other possibilities?
OK... pretty much any teenager will have these symptoms at some point in their life... The problem is when you type in 'Blood in toilet' you will find that Colon Cancer is all over the first page. This causes people to freak out... When you freak out and read 'Blood on toilet paper' accompanied by light headedness or stomach pains could be colon cancer you will worry yourself and worry more and more and notice things more and more.
Now is the time to go to the doctors... otherwise things will get worse. Pretty much everyone in the world will have blood on the tissue some time in their life (100%) of these people. A lifetime chance of getting colon/rectum cancer is 5.5 - 6%. It is estimated that 148,810 men and women (77,250 men and 71,560 women) will be diagnosed this year... 0.1% will be under the age of 20 (even as you get older : 1.0% between 20 and 34; 3.7% between 35 and 44). So 4.8% of those diagnosed are under the age of 45... So work out 0.1% of 6% and even 4.8% of 6% in terms of population.
Now... consider that by the age of 50 over 50% of the population will suffer from Hemroids (which nearly always cause blood in the stool) and "We do know that people between the ages of 20 and 50 experience the largest number of symptoms from hemorrhoids." Annually, only about 500,000 people in the U.S. are medically treated for hemorrhoids, with 10 to 20% of them requiring surgeries. Anal fissures / tears / etc are even more common... but rarely require treatment.
OK, so that can explain rectal bleeding what about stomach aches etc? There are far too many conditions to list but one of the most common is IBS... this affects up to 30% of the population and usually presents itself at moments of stress (exams, parent troubles, relationship issues, etc, etc)... Teenagers are very susceptible. IBS is characterized by abdominal pains and spasms especially after eating, flatulence leading to burping and wind, frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation, general body pain and fatigue... And guess what else? Thin stools and Mucus on stools.
Now consider that Hemoroids are VERY OFTEN caused by IBS... I.E. constipation and having to strain to go to the toilet. Because IBS cannot be cured (it can however be eased by diet changes, etc) the hemroids get worse, more and more blood can appear and cause symptoms to get even worse. Those who avoid the doctors suffer more and more from worry / panic (which can add to the IBS and make symptoms appear even worse).
So... think about how common it is to have hemroids and IBS (probably about 10-15% of the population under 50 will have both, 30%-50% of the population have one or the other under 50). Then consider how likely it is you have colon cancer as a teen or under 45 ...
Colorectal cancer risk increases with age, with more than 90% of colorectal cancers occurring in people aged 50 and over. In patients under 20 years old the rate of colorectal cancer is less than 1 in 100,000 per year. However on reaching the age fifty the chances of contracting cancer are around one in 2,000.
So why are you telling me this???
My point is not that you should not worry or that you should avoid the doctors. My point is get to the doctors and have your worries and fears relieved before they make things worse... Chances are you don't have Colon Cancer... it's just the worst case scenario for rectal bleeding and thin stools... as humans our nature is to jump and cling to the worst case scenarios... Where as it would be much, much better to look at the realistic probabilities. TELL the doctor your concerns and they will ease them... this is their job... even hemroids left untreated can result in death (blood loss, infection) and IBS and be so bad you are forced not to work. Anything your body is doing that is not normal needs to be looked at and fixed...
Just so people know I have no medical or doctor experience... I am literally just relaying my research and what helped me... I lived with worry for almost 5 years and I feel like a total idiot for it.
After going to the doctors Tuesday and not having my fears relinquished I went back on Thursday and had some blood tests and proper examinations done. It seems I am OK, my doctor said if I had rectal bleeding due to a cancer for 5 years I'd probably be dead or at least near dead by now. Hemroids were visible both internally and externally and were not 'bad' but she could certainly tell they had been left untreated for too long.
When I think back to when I first noticed... mentally I was a wreck (and I was only 18) I was almost brought to tears after seeing blood for about the tenth time... I used to go to the toilet in the dark so I didn't have to see it and by 21 I just ignored it...
It was so stupid, because although the doctor is 99% sure it's just IBS (about 15-30% of people my age have ibs symptoms) / Hemroids... It might have been cancer and I was too scared to go and get it sorted... and I could be dead right now if it had been... there is no difference between my symptoms and cancer symptoms... I was lucky... Don't want people to make my stupid mistake if they actually did have something wrong with them.
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