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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

Possibly colon cancer? Only 18..

Hey folks, well, just turned 18 in September, and have been having mild lower left stomach problems for the past 3 weeks or so.  For the first week, it was hardly noticeable, but then it started getting worst.  It isn't really pain, sort of a pressure, just a strange feeling I guess.  I went to the doctor right away, as I am a tad nervous when it comes to medical issues.  The doctor looked me over, and said there was really nothing wrong.  Well, the pressure continued, so I went back in.  This time, the doctor gave me flagyl(Spelling?), and said he thought I had some kind of intestinal infection, possibly from bad water.  So I took that for a week, and the pressure really started to go away.  I can barely feel it now, 3 weeks later, but it is still there, just barely.  Also, at the start, I was very constipated.  Last week I tried taking a colon cleanser, and 2 days during this I had quite a bit of blood in the bowl.  Now understand, I have hemeroids, and have had them for a good long time.  When there was bleeding, it was very itchy, and burning.  Obvious signs of my hemeroids acting up, but blood none the less.  

So my real question is, what is the chance I could have colon cancer at age 18?  I have to go back to the doctor probably this week, on an unrelated topic, so I will mention these things to him there, but I still can't help but be nervous.  Any info would be great.  Thanks in advance.
23 Responses
Avatar universal
I don't think you have colon cancer - is there a history in your family?

It sounds like hemorroids to be - was the blood bright red?  Have you had significant weight loss?  Are you tired?

Colon cancer is slow growing and pain is seldom a factor until the late stages.

Relax, ask your doctor about it.

Avatar universal
I think Nanci is right on in her response, so I would not let yourself get unnecessarily stressed over the possibility of it being cancer.
Avatar universal
You should increase your fibre in your diet or take a teaspoon of Metamucil a day. That is what made me go to the doctor years ago, the pain and pressure in my left side. The doctor told me it was a spastic colon from not eating enough fibre. It makes it hard on your colon and can make it have spasms which can cause the pain and pressure. I am not big on fibre such as brown bread and cereral and such so I take Metamucil which is not a laxative but a source of soluable fiber. I also have bleeding hemmoroids and being constipated only inflames them all the more and makes them bleed. When your stool has fiber in it, it passes through your colon much easier and slides right on by those nasty hemmoriods.
Good Luck, virgo
Avatar universal
No history of any colon problems in my family.  Thanks so much for the hasty replies, I feel much better now =)
Avatar universal
Though, to answer your question, the blood was bright red.  It only happened 2 days in the week, and those were the 2 days I took the colon cleanser.

Though another thing I have noticed is that my bowel movements have been different..  Not less then usual, I guess, that was mainly from constipation.  But they are sort of mushy, maybe skinnier.  Probably the thing I am most concerned about now, not sure why I didn't mention it before.

The internet is a wonderful source for information, but it is also poison to hypochondriacs like me.
Avatar universal
If you have any doubts see your Dr. I work with a Husband and wife that had their son die at age 17 with colon cancer. He waited to late to bring the problems he was having to their attention.
They at first didn't even think anything about it because He looked the picture of health. They though he might have a sore or pulled muscles because he was working with a calf he was going to show in 4-H.
Their entire family was encouraged to have a colonoscopy. Both parents had polyps and in checking they found a history of polyps and possible colon cancer in the family tree.
Just because your young and it is rare at your age, if it persist have it checked out.

Runnner
Avatar universal
Well, thanks for the info Runner.  I must admit, I am quite nervous again after reading your post, but always good to be informed.  I have been quite tired lately, and I thought I had lost some weight, but I think I am imagining things.  I am on Paxil for generalized anxiety, no shocker there eh?  I think one of the side effects of Paxil is tiredness, and weight loss/gain.  Either way, I will bring the issue back up with my doctor this week.  Again, thanks for all the great information, everyone.
Avatar universal
Oh, heh, also I forgot to mention.  When I REALLY think about it, it is almost my side, and my back that feels funny.  But like you said, it could be a million different things.  Well, back to the doctor I go.
Avatar universal
I am much older than you but it took the doctor a year to determine I needed a colonoscopy. I had scans and test which showed nothing. The pain came and went so He wasn't overly concerned. Then this Sept when I complained again that the pain was this there decided I needed the colonoscopy. They found I had 3 polyps and colitis.Polyps were not cancerous but the colitis was the problem.
I had been concerned about cancer also. Since my mother in-law and I go to the same doctor and she had colon cancer.I confronted him about polyps and the possibility of cancer. He said polyps normaly do not cause pain. Yet a friend I work with said her husband had polyps and were extremly painful. So there are so many different possibilities for the problems we have. If you read the post on this forum you already know that. It seems two identical symptons in two different people can be caused by completly different things.
Don't be OVER ANXIOUS about your problem but be persistent. I wish I had been more so with my problem. If I had I could have been getting the treatment a year sooner.

Good Luck
Runnner
Avatar universal
It is really an odd situation for me, because I have been almost "confined" to my house for about 2 years.  I started home school at the end of 9th grade, and just haven't had a whole lot of reason to go out.  When I went to the doctor originally, I also talked to him about my anxiety, and he prescribed Paxil.  I have been on it about 3 weeks now, and it is really helping alot.  I have really noticed a difference.  So having that said, I get very little excersize.  Not only that, but I am on the computer a whole lot, and the chair I sit in, I tend to lean to the left, on the rest.  I think alot of my problem could simply be that.  Also, I am so nervous about it, that I can't help pushing on that side.  It really isn't a pain anymore, at all..  And it never really was a pain, more like a pressure..  Just a strange feeling, I can't shake it.  Also, it is almost 100% better, I can barely feel it, unless I am REALLY thinking about it.  I just think it is very odd that when I was on the Flagyl, the pressure subsided almost completely.  Is it normal for something like that to just go away?  I know, I am just making excuses, I guess I can't help myself.
Avatar universal
You are absolutely going to make yourself crazy by reading what's online, and "Reading" into the situation. What you need to do is VERY simple. Call up you general doctor and request that you be seen by a gastroenterologist. I'm SURE he/she will want you to have a colonoscopy. If you are bleeding and it doesn't matter if it's once a week, the problem needs looking into. Please make an appt. No-one here can give you a diagnosis. Only a doctor. Once you find out what the problem is and have a correct diagnosis, I'm sure than someone here can help you out more with suggestions, but you NEED to see your doctor! Don't let it go.........

Good luck-
Jenifer
Avatar universal
Yeah, I know, I am going to go to the doctor.  Schedueling an appointment tomorrow.  Still, can't hurt to ask questions.  It makes me feel better knowing someone might be able to give me some information.  Comforting, I guess.  

So, again, I forgot to mention something =)  The first week when the pressure was really bad, it would feel better once I peed.  Also, anything I drank went right through me.  Honestly, I was using the bathroom every 10-15 minutes.  Also, it has become more difficult to pee.  I have to really strain to start going.  Kidney stones are something I first suspected, as I also have side pain.  Though the first week I was at the doctor, they DID take a urine sample.  Just a though..
10374 tn?1242244878
Red..you and me are a lot alike.  Last year, I started having major problems with my bowels, pain in my side and some blood from time to time.  I had a colonoscopy done and it revealed that I had two small internal hemeroiids (sp?) and also a condition where I have excess fatty tissure in my rectum.  That can cause some bleeding also.  I was convinced I had cancer or some malady like that.  I am a chronic worrier.  My advice to you from an oldie like me (I am all of 30 years old..LOL)...just relax and make that appointment.  More than likely, nothing serious will come of it and you will only make your symptoms worse by worrying.   I know, because I do it to myself all the time.  Good luck...
Avatar universal
Thanks MTV, that post really helped me alot =)  Have an appointment set up for tomorrow, so no turning back now =)  I actually don't mind going anymore, I'm just not too fond of the idea of a colonoscopy, but hey, if it needs doing, it needs to be done.  

Again, thanks everyone for the great information.  I'll keep you posted =)
Avatar universal
Hmm, MTV, if you don't mind me asking, could you explain to me the procedure of a colonoscopy?  I guess the fact that I don't know at all how it works really scares me..  Perhaps I could look it up on the net, but I would like to hear a "human" opinion on it =)
10374 tn?1242244878
The colonoscopy was not as bad as I imagined.  They start an IV in you and give you some form of anesthesia that way.  I was completely out for the whole procedure and it seemed like in a blink of an eye that I was awake and the doc was talking to me.  Actually, he was talking to my husband, because you will be a bit out of it at first.  All in all, I was kind of glad to have it done, because not only did it bring me peace of mind, but the procedure in itself was not as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  The worse thing about it is having to take the laxatives and do a liquid diet the day before.  So really, the prep is worse than the procedure.
Avatar universal
Ok, that helps a whole lot.  Thanks a bunch.
10374 tn?1242244878
You're welcome...keep us posted!  :)
Avatar universal
I think your problem may be diverticilosis.  It presents with various symptoms like cramping, bloating, constipation all in the lower left area of the abdomen. (In females, this area would be where her ovary would be).  A screening test to confirm this might be a barium enema.  Hope this helps you.
Avatar universal
To add to what Becker has said. Before I had my colonoscopy I talked with a young ( early 20's) man at work. He was  having the same pain in the same location as I was. His pain was more severe than mine and had blood present. He had diverticulitis. I had colitis.He is getting treatment and diet change and doing fine.

Runnner
Avatar universal
My mom has hemmeroids as well, and she has significant bleeding. Hemmeroids are internal and it is normal to bleed.
My father-in-law died of colon cancer. He had blood come from every hole in his body when he collapsed on day. He had dark red blood. He had the runs constantly.
I think you do not have colon cancer. It sounds like IBS (irritable bowel syndome). Constipation is normal for IBS, not colon cancer. Cancer is hereditary, and it runs through my husband's family. My husbands father, mother, aunts, uncles, and grandma all had cancer in one form or the other.
Avatar universal
Thank you LisaMom, very helpful.  A small update, I went to the doctor last friday, and he told me to make an oppointment with another doctor on monday..  So now I am set to see a doctor on thursday, I will let everyone know how it goes.  Probably won't have a proper diagnosis until next week.

Though..  The doctor mentioned something about a flex camera..  If one of the options is to have a "flex" done, should I request a colonoscopy instead?  Or bring it up?

I am so clueless when it comes to medical procedures.
Avatar universal
A "flex" means a flexible sigmoidoscopy.  This procedure can examine only about the lower third of the colon. And if anything suspicious is found, then they would want to do a colonoscopy anyhow.  And the prep is about the same.  Things can be missed by having a flex sig.  I wouldn't settle for anything less than a colonoscopy. Good luck with everything.
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