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worried about colon cancer at 22
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worried about colon cancer at 22

2 weeks ago, I passed a massive BM and there was blood. I strained after the large fece and pushed out liquid blood. Small round hard stools day after. I took stool softener for 3 days and a laxative on the 4th. Blood with a strained diarrhea after the laxative. For days after that, back and forth between small soft short pencil stools/ribbon stools and looser stools or diarrhea in the AM. Some stools approached a larger pinky or pointer finger bulk (still short). Today, the stools are harder but seem pressed on the two sides. Laying in the toilet, better looking, on the side thiner (pencil) and flat.

In the AM, I have a lot of gas pain and I'm pretty tired (though it might be depression as I assume it's cancer-I've pretty much given up on life. I spend all my free time looking this up and nothing interests me anymore).  I get bloated after I eat. My appetite dropped for a bit (lost 6 lbs). Though I'm eating a little more now. I managed to eat 2000 calories or more today and yesterday.

I've been to doctors three times. I had 2 digital rectal exams with fecal occult blood tests. Neither time was positive. I don't have a family history of polyps or cancer (my grandpa and dad have been checked) though we all have constipation and they have hemorrhoids.  My CBC showed low WBC (3.1) normal Hemoglobin, and slightly low RBC.
My doctor said that if I had a tumor large enough for obstruction, I'd have been positive at least once for the FOBT and my hemoglobin would have been low. The WBC made him think viral infection. He also recommended dietary changes, though the increased fiber and probiotics don't seem to have made much of a difference (AM diarrhea began post probiotic).  He thought the blood was hemorrhoids, esp since I passed a massive stool right before all of this and my admission of strain. He's considering things like Chrohns Disease etc... He doesn't think I need a colonoscopy. I've demanded one. He sent me to a gastro-specialist who echoed his sentiments. I want a colonoscopy, I'm freaking out.
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Avatar_m_tn
More info:

My diet went from LOTS of junk food to a more healthy diet. So caloric intake dropped significantly from dietary choices. Possibly part of the weight loss.

I had mucus once or twice when I couldn't push anything out.

The gastro-specialist thought I had too many events/changes to my bowel environment in the span of a week. Diet changes, laxatives, softeners, a bleeding hemorrhoid, etc... I saw him 4 days ago.  He also thought my usual liquid intake of 4-6 liters of diet pepsi per day might be a part of it. Though my more stable diet low on caffeine hasn't helped much this week.


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Avatar_m_tn
Colon cancer at your age is unheard of unless you have a particular genetic condition. Given what you've gone through, you'd already know about it if this were the case.

However, given what you put your body through (4-6 liters? Really?!) it's no surprise this is happening.

You didn't screw up your body overnight by eating a crappy diet and you're not going to fix it overnight. First and foremost, you have to clean up your act and give your body a chance to heal, so the dietary changes are a must and they have to be continual. Improvement will come slowly, but it will come.

Here are some suggestions:

0) Organic, organic, organic. The more you can do organic the better. Not a requirement (hence the 0 designation), but very, very, very desirable.
1) Make sure to have at least 40g of fiber a day, preferably from fruits and vegetables rather than grains.

2) When you have grains, make sure they're wholegrain (pasta, bread, cereal, etc). With bread, for example, the rule is the heavier, the better. Avoid overtly processed breads and cereals.

3) Look for an herb called Triphala and start taking that according to the instructions on the package. It's an herb to help bowel health. I recommend "Nature's Way" since they standardize at 45% Tannins.

4) Drop the laxatives unless the doctor tells you otherwise. If you need a laxative, try something with psyllium husks, like Metamucil. Chemical laxatives make your colon weaker over time, while husks all bulk to the stool, which makes it stronger.

5) If so inclined, do a colon cleanse. A good one is Dr. Natura's Colonix. You might also want to do the chemical detox program.

6) Start taking a good (and I mean very good) multivitamin. This will be money well spent.

7) Start drinking 1 oz of water for at least every 2 lbs your weigh. (ex. 200lb man should drink 100oz of water, or just under a gallon.) This is a daily quota, and should be done through the day, not all at once. Drop sodas, coffee, all caffeinated drinks (except maybe green tea, but try white tea or rooibos instead).

8) Increase your olive oil intake. This will help clean out your liver and bile. (A good way to do this is to have bread with olive oil instead of butter, and to use it in your salad dressings.) This should be, by the way, pretty much the only oil you ingest.

9) Drop fast foods, anything fried, red meat, and charred/blackened meat. Stick to low-mercury fish (like Alaskan salmon, which if you don't yet like you should learn to) and low-fat meats like chicken breast.

10) Start exercising. At least 30 minutes a day. Best way I know of this is to join a good martial arts class focusing on kung fu or mixed martial arts.

If you message me I can tell you where you can get a lot of these, and give you a few recipes to get started to save you some time.

Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh, and I forgot. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Stick brown sugar, molasses, and (my favorite) honey to sweeten things.
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Avatar_m_tn
I work full time, go to college full time (an hour away from home), and I have two young daughters (8 months and 2 1/2). The excessive caffeine was since I juggle so much and usually go on 4 hours of sleep per night. I've been getting much more since this has happened. I just feel uncomfortable in the AM.

My main concern was that I've been eating better for a week or so and I haven't had much in the way of improvement. I'm afraid it's something major.

I don't know how much nerves affect things, but I've been crying a lot, shaking from nerves/fear/anxiety, I call the doctor every couple days. I've been to him twice in the past week or so and to a Gastrologist once (though I saw his Nurse-Practitioner). I'm so afraid this is stage 3 or 4, as smaller tumors don't obstruct/thin stools.
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Avatar_m_tn
To quote John Milton, “The mind can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven”.

Regarding your diet and exercise, you're not looking at a week to improve, you're looking at months. Not 7 days, at the very least 30, SO KEEP AT IT! Have patience and be diligent. As the quality of your input improves, your body will begin to heal, and your energy levels and overall health will improve.. Trust your doctor (and me) and drop the caffeine. In the long run it does considerably more harm than good. And for the record, it's also a laxative, which means it'll weaken your colon in the long run. Like any muscle in your body, it will strengthen in time, but it has to be treated right.

One thing you can do immediately is start working on your mental state, for various reasons. Physically, the anxiety and stress will interfere with your digestion, big time, and will have a HUGE effect on your general physiology. I'll emphasize again, HUUUUUGE. This includes making all kinds of weird things happen with your stool. (Talking from experience here. I've had severe and long-term effects from uncontrolled panic attacks.)

In case I didn't make it clear, let me try again: STRESS AND ANXIETY WILL MAKE YOUR BODY ACT AS IF IT IS DISEASED. You have to gain control of your mind.

A good way to start is this: on your hour drives to/from school, turn off the music/news and pop in a self-improvement or religious recording: listen to speakers, preachers, and teachers who build mankind. The local library should have some, so check them out! (My favorite right now is Tony Robbins, but I'm also a big fan of Zig Zigglar, Deepak Chopra, John Maxwell, Joel Osteen and others.) Also, take some time--15 minutes a day, when you're in the bathroom--and read a positive mental attitude book: "Become Who You Were Born to Be" by Brian Souza, "Awaken the Giant Within" by Anthony Robbins, "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, anything and everything by Og Mandino... There are hundreds out there. (In fact, start with Og Mandino's "Greatest Miracle in the World") Again, go to the library, though if you can find these books, buy them. (Garage sales and used bookstores usually have these for sale very cheap.)

Also, consider getting some psychological counseling. While there's a stigma attached to this, the fact is that it can do a world of good. I've gone through the anxiety/crying thing myself, and I know how much talk therapy can help. (Avoid taking any psychiatric drugs.) From the sounds of it, it looks like you're finally coming to terms with your own mortality, maybe even having a full blown existential crisis. (Look those up on Wikipedia if you have questions.) That's not to say this is all in your mind--FAR FROM IT!--but the mind plays a HUGE role in all of this.

The human body is a fearfully wonderful thing. It can take so much and can do so much that many of its workings are still total mysteries to us. So trust in the fact that if our species has adapted through cataclysmic global changes during humanity's 3+ million years of evolution, it can come back your bad eating habits and your stress.

You're young and have 2 kids to deal with, plus you're working to improve your situation. That's commendable. But before you can help them you must, must, must help yourself.

Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Please post your question as its own post using the post a question button at the top, because this post is so old.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry I didn't realize you had already posted your own question, ignore my previous post.
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