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I'm terrifed that I will have colon cancer......
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I'm terrifed that I will have colon cancer......

I am 33 years old and for the past 3 months have had some upper abdominal pain it seems to be in my transverse colon,  I went to my Dr, as soon as the pain started and she did an xray and said she thought it was simply constipation,  I was also having some signs of acid reflux at the time so she put me on prylosac and murilax for 6 weeks and really nothing changed except the heartburn went away,  I made another appt in March and had an upper gi and an ultra sound all came back normal.  

I am still experiencing these pains in both the right and left side of the transverse colon, If I push on the area it almost feels bruised deep inside,  I am so scared right now as I just can't stop thinking that this could be colon cancer,  I am a mother of 2  and have the most amazing life I don't want to loose that.

I have not had any blood in my stool, but last week I "might have" not sure if it was just that I had tomato based foods or not but considering that was the only possible time that it looked like I had blood I am assuming it was food related.

I guess my main concern is that if this is colon cancer and I am already in pain then it might already be advanced and that terrify's me.  I have an appt with a gi specialist tomorrow afternoon and I am going to ask for a colonoscopy, I will have to pay for this out of pocket because my insurance has a really high deductable but I want to be safe and I can't put a price tag on my life.  

Anyways I could use some good thoughts as right now my emotions are really high.

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1208572_tn?1276146143
Well, first thing is first. You need to relax and not stress yourself out. Stress will make symptoms way worse than what they are.
Second thing is that you have been to a doctor and aside from a colonoscopy, you have had a decent amount of tests run, and they have come back fine. As I have posted in the past 2 or 3 topics here, even at 33 you would be incredibly young to have colon cancer. Statistically, you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than having colon cancer at that age.
Does anyone in your immediate family have colon cancer or a history of it? If not, you are even less likely to have it.
Now, for a breakdown on what your issue probably is. If you google abdominal anatomy, you will see how the colon bends in the upper left quadrant. This area poses a problem for alot of people. What happens is, bowel, gas,etc get trapped here and causes pain from that area across the top of the colon(Transverse) Alot of people with IBS have this issue. I get pain there whenever I get extra gas buildup, along with the bottom of the descending colon which also narrows and twists.
Your symptoms match more of IBS than anything. The fact you have already had an Ultrasound will rule out anything big that would be causing pain.

I could really go on and on with reasons why it is not colon cancer. As for the possible red in the stool, alot of foods do not process right. Tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries,etc. Have you had anything like this in the past few days? If so, that could be your culptit.
Have you had a fecal occult blood test? That will eliminate wether or not you do have blood in your stool.

Feel free to get any tests done which make you feel better and not stressed. Colonoscopy will run you some nice $$$$ for sure, but if thousands of dollars gives you a piece of mind go for it. I personally think you have done quite alot of test to rule out anything major. Colonoscopy is the only way to know for 100%. But I bet if you went 1 week without stressing as much as you probably are, you would find yourself feeling 100x better. Hope this helps. Try to relax!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
yeah the colonoscopy will cost me thousands because I will have to pay out of pocket but at this point I feel like I need answers and that might be my only way to get true peace of mind.  I have also thought about getting a barium enema which has about a  80%-90% accuracy in detecting cancer and will only run me about $200 but again I won't know for sure unless I go with the colonoscopy.  

As far as the food processing and the blood I did have chili the night before so lots of tomato which was probably it but when I wiped I noticed a pink tinge (sorry tmi) so don't know what that was all about.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Well the red with wiping can very well be hemorrhoids. Have you had a CBC done lately?
If I were you and needed a piece of mind, I would start with the barium enema xray and a FOBT.
There are tons of people with your symptoms that you may find some comfort in at http://www.ibsgroup.org/forums/
Check out the abdominal pain subforum. There are literally hundreds of threads about people your age with abdominal pains. Statistic wise, only about 500 women between the age of 24-33 get colon cancer every year. 500, that is incredibly low. About .09% of all colon cancer cases and about .003% of all Americans your age. Again, probably unlikely, and you have had quite a few tests done already.
If you can afford the colonoscopy, sure, go for it. But if it will break you, Id start with the barium xray and fobt, and try to relax a bit and see if your symptoms dont subside.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Also, looking back at your first post, if you had advance colon cancer, you would not be able to have normal bowel movements. You would constantly be constipated followed by diarhea (diarrhea). Also, in a CBC, your Liver enzymes would be high due to cancer spreading to your liver. Considering your ultrasound was ok, I very seriously doubt you have to worry about advanced cancer.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a cbc back in October 09 and it came back normal, I have a complete physical set for this Friday to check again.  I have been very woozy and tired lately but mainly in the evenings after a long day of working with 12 toddlers so I don't think that counts as fatigue.  I think the wooziness is my allergies but am not sure.  I also had a liver enzyme test done last summer that was normal as well.
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Avatar_f_tn
The only reason I don't think this is IBS is because I do not have diarreah (diarrhea) and only have occasional constipation.  Sometimes I will only go a small amount I guess that would be not completely emptying my bowels which is another red flag.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
IBS can involve many things and exclude many. I had stomach pains for many months and never had 1 day of constipation or diarreah (diarrhea). I had a normal BM every single day, but the gas buildup I had caused pains in my stomach along my transverse and descending colon, right where they looped and bent.
Have you had a check for Celiac disease? An allergy test for lactose? You have assumed the worse here, when 25 million Americans suffer from something simple as IBS. Again, if a colonoscopy puts your mind at ease, go for it, but when the doc comes back and says they found nothing, and that you have IBS(or later Celiacs, etc) it will have been a costly test!
Have you tried taking probiotics? Sometimes this can aid in calming your digestive system down. As far as your fatigue, fatigue from Colon Cancer alot of times will be due to anemia(Bleeding from a tumor) Your fatigue sounds like a normal days work on top of stressing over this. Ive given you tons of info to read up on. You only have one symptom, stomach pains, and pains from colon cancer are usually seen late in the stage. Considering you are having normal daily BM's, a clean ultrasound, etc, its not shaping up to be colon cancer. Im betting IBS or Celiacs(Or something non-life threatening like that)
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Also, a cancer registrar once told me she had never seen a Stage 3 or Stage 4 colon cancer paitent that didnt have constipation with diahrea. So again, if your having normal BM's, your no where near having "advanced colon cancer" And pain with stage 1 or 2 is much less common than stage 3 or 4. Pain usually comes after blood, constipation, etc.
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Avatar_f_tn
I probably wouldn't be sooooo concerned about this IF I only had just a little pain that went away, its the fact that if I touch those areas on the left and right and put just the right amount of pressure the whole region is very sore and feels bruised so I think to myself could that be the area that there is a tumor in?  Why if it is just from "IBS" would the pain not go away and then come back?  

Thanks for your info I do feel a little better :) I have an appt tomorrow at 2:30 with the specialist and yep thats out of pocket too so far I spent $600 on this so yeah I don't want to spend loads on a colonoscopy but like I said I have an amazing life to live and I just want to make sure I am around for it.  

The biggest mistake I made this week was looking at stories of people with colon cancer and seeing there faces, women in there 20's and 30's, mothers that had little symptoms and will never watch there children grow up now because they waited until they had "actual major symptoms".

I should never read this stuff because I get worked up and I see myself in there shoes and just want to be as proactive as I can in my own health.  

Oh and yes I just started probiotics about a week ago.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Oh, yes, you are 100% correct, if you read that stuff, you will convince yourself that you have colon cancer. I was just reading some stories a few minutes out of curiousity to our discussion and almost convinced myself that I had it!!!!

When I went to my doctor awhile back about my stomach cramps she told me to stay away from the internet stories as they will only cause your stress and symptoms to get worse. I agree, it is truly sad to read about people our age(I am 29) with colon cancer. It seems unreal, and when you read about it, it makes you think that it happens more often than it does.

But, reading those stories I noticed A. alot of the people our age diagnosed with it, have family histories, and B. had symptoms like blood in stool for a long period of time that shouldve been checked out or was overlooked by a doctor.

Your GI will recommend whats best, and I say do whatever they tell you to. Their professionals. When I told my GI my symptoms that pretty much pursuaded me out of a colonoscopy. Negative FOBT, Normal, daily BM's,etc.

As for your issue, if it is sore to the touch, I wonder if its is a muscle strain? Your transverse is behind your abdominal muscles, so if its tender just to touch, it could be muscles or diaphram(sp?) and not so much an internal organ issue. Does it hurt to stretch? If you lay down and do a situp does it hurt? If so, your issue is muscle related and not organ related. Also, if you keep jabbing at it, it will never get better! ;)
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a stage 3 cancer and did not have constipation with diarrhea, so that is not an accurate predictor of whether a person has advanced colon cancer.  Different people have differenc symptoms.  However, you are correct that it is extremely unlikely that a person of txtiana's age, without a family history, has colon cancer.  However, it can and does happen.

I have a dear friend who had no family history and almost no symptoms but was diagnosed at age 30 with stage 4 colon cancer.  He gave it one hell of a fight, but I am sorry to say that just after Christmas this year, his spirit outgrew his body and he left us.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Yea, when she told me that I think that depended on the location. Obviously ascending colon cancer could get to Stage 3(And usually 4) without any symptoms because the size is bigger than the other parts of the colon.

As for your friend I am sorry to hear about that. Thats the tough part about young people getting colon cancer. When only .09% of all cases are people our age, it doesnt really become necessary for routine colonoscopies, and because of this, people like your friend will be the small percentage that had to deal unfairly with this disease.

jdwithhcv, what was your main symptom that brought you to get checked for colon cancer?
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Avatar_f_tn
Blood - lots and lots of blood, and then muscle spasms (uncontrollable) in my sphincter.  I had a long family history of the disease, though I did not know it at the time.
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Avatar_f_tn
oh lord now reading about jdwithhcv's friend I am def.thining colonoscopy.  I really hate this right now I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster and I just want off.

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Avatar_f_tn
jdwithhcv- Did your friend have any symptoms?  When I hear these things I just feel like this could be me and it really gets to me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I should also mention that as far as family history goes I only have my moms side to base that one. I had little contact with my fathers side of the family.  I know that my dad died at 49 of a heart attack, his mom of liver disease, and his grandmother of old age, but other then that I have no idea if any of them ever had any cancers or if there were others like my grandfather on his side that had anything.  

Guess I have always felt a little cursed having that whole side of the family dead now leaves only me.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
txtiana,
As soon as jdwithhcv wrote that I KNEW it was going to hit you hard mentally and emotionally. At this point I think you should get the colonoscopy as you have already self-diagnosed yourself, and without definitive proof, you are going to continuously drive yourself crazy with it.

Aside from that, there was no way for her friend to know he had cancer. Who wouldve imagined at 30 years old and no family history that someone(especially with no symptoms) would have colon cancer? But on the same point, more people our age die yearly from brain aneurysms, and that usually gives you no symptoms. Just a bad headache and then death. So perhaps an MRI as well?

My point being, it sounds like you have a great life, with 2 kids, and you need to make sure you spend your time living and not so much worrying about dying. Most terminal illnesses pop up with little to no symptoms. Cervical cancer is one that can strike with absolutely no symptoms, on top of many other diseases. Colon Cancer is no different.

So again, talk with your GI and see what they think. Keep us updated on it, Im sure you will be fine.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
jdwithhcv,

I assume your colon cancer was sigmoid? Or descending? And I have noticed a trend that people with stage 4 colon cancer and no symptoms tend to have cancer in the ascending region.(Due to it being big enough for a tumor to grow with little to no symptoms.) Is this where your friends colon cancer was?

Such an odd disease colon cancer is. I imagine it is tough as someone who studies this disease to find some type of predictability in it. I have read about a 15 year old girl getting it, a 30 year old vegeterian, and other people that you would assume would not get it. It seems they(doctors) try their best to group who is at a greater risk and who is not, but with it, you never really know.
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand I could die in a car wreck today and none of this would ever matter, I have always stressed about medical issues its always scary to me.

I will update today when I get home, I think I would feel somewhat at ease with the barium enema and FOTB  and the cbc Friday.  If all those came back negative I would feel a lot more at ease.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
When I had an FOTB and it turned out to be negative, it took a great load off my shoulders. I have read different researches on FOBT, but there was one saying that if they screened people yearly with FOBT, that it would greatly reduce colon cancer, because its one of the most common ways to check for non-symptomatic problems of colon cancer. I read one study that it had an 80% succeess rate and finding occult blood in cancer paitents, and that is a great % based on how easy the test is. The results were even better with people who had cancer of the transverse through rectum region.

Having a cbc, fobt and barium xray on top of the ultrasound would be an incredible amount of info to help you feel sure that you do not have colon cancer. Of course a colonoscopy is the only 100% way, but when you have to come out thousands of dollars and a GI doesnt think you need it, it becomes an issue as to wether or not to do it.
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Avatar_f_tn
My cancer was rectal.  My friend had his cancer in the descending colon.  He was diagnosed at stage 4 and already had liver mets.  Sorry, he never told me what his first symptoms were, but most of the cancer patients I know had two things in common, blood and anemia.

I would get a CBC and the FOBT test first.  If you have blood detected, or if you have unexplained anemia, then go for the colonoscopy.   This cancer is rare in people your age, but have those two tests to give yourself peace of mind.

If those tests are negative, as they likely will be, then speak to your GI doc about IBS and other conditions that could be causing your pain.

Best of luck to you.  Please let us know how those first two tests come out.

jd
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a nornal  u/s on my liver just 2 weeks ago, would that show any abnormalties?  My cbc was done in Oct, and pains started Jan. so I am hoping that is a good sign that I wasn't anemic.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Wow, thats crazy that he had cancer in his descending colon that went that long before he had symptoms. From what I know, that area is usually diagnosed symptomatically the most because of its smaller than the other parts of the colon and causes symptoms quicker than the ascending or transverse.
I assume he probably had hidden occult blood for awhile and just didnt know.(And being as young as he was, there never wouldve been any reason to check) Again, sorry to hear about his case.

As for us that have had symptoms that were/are related to colon cancer which allowed us to get checked, we should be fortunate. I never wouldve had an FOBT or researched so much about colon cancer had I never developed stomach cramps. Where now I know how important it is to stay on top of this disease as it is very curable if caught early.
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1208572_tn?1276146143
Yea, an ultrasound on your liver would definately show if you had any masses on there.
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