Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Constipation? Colon Cancer?
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Constipation? Colon Cancer?

Dear Dr.
My husband is a 43 yr old man, that has had no major health problems. He had a benign polyp when he was 15. He had a colonoscopy three yrs. ago, that did show a polyp, but it was removed and benign. His Dr. had told him to get another colonoscopy in 5 yrs. About two months ago, he started feeling a "fullness" under and around his left rib.  It has since come and gone through the summer, and about a week ago started up again. It is NOT painful, and he has had no cramping, or bleeding. He has struggled with constipation for about a week. He has had some bowel movements, but they were and on the small side. He admits that he doesn't drink water during the day, drinks coffee...does not exercise, and doesn't have a high fiber diet. He doesn't eat junk food, just doesn't really watch what he eats. He probably is around 15 lbs overweight as well. His mother has had a few polyps removed (benign) and his older sister has had a few polyps removed, benign as well. I also believe his grandfather had some too-benign. (Grandfather lived to be 94!) No colon cancer in the family, just these pesky polyps. I was reading that one of the symptoms of colon cancer can be a change in bowel habits, so this concerns me. As well, I'm not sure what this fullness can be? He also says that it's not as noticeable in the morning, but by night time he does notice it more. ALSO, he notices the fullness when he is standing up, and pulling his stomach in, but when he kind of relaxes his stomach (and lets it pooch :) it's not as noticeable. Can you please give me your thoughts on this? I so appreciate it!
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Indeed, a change in bowel habits can be caused by colon cancer.  It is re-assuring that a colonoscopy was done recently, but if the constipation continues, repeating it would be an option.

Other testing options would be an ultrasound to evaluate for liver or gallbladder disease, or an upper GI series or upper endoscopy, which can evaluate for various causes of dyspepsia, such as an ulcer or inflammation of the stomach or small intestine.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin Pho, M.D.

KevinMD.com
Twitter.com/kevinmd
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