Can it not be a colon cancer? - Colon Cancer Conn...

Colon Cancer Connected

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Can it not be a colon cancer?


Hi, and thank you for your patience.

I am a 33 year old male and have an extensive history of gastro-intestinal issues.

Despite everything, my diet is well balanced and I try to move as much as possible despite having sedentary job as software developer. I am 6'2 and 180 lbs. So more on a skinnier side.

I have been intermittently bleeding since I was 13. As a family we have always attributed it to my habit of long toilet visits, because of reading on the toilet. There is no colon cancer in my bloodline as far as I know (yet). Also, I am heterosexual and have never had any anal injury.

I had a sigmoidoscopy done at the age 21 and it came out all clear. Bleeding continued, but apart from that , there were no intestinal issues (maybe only occasional anal pain).

I had another sigmoidoscopy for the same issues at the age of 28, but there were no issues found. Intermittent bleeding continued.

At the age of 31 (2 years ago) I have started to see narrowing of the stool, occasional bleeding and had sigmoidoscopy done again. They found only some skin tags in the vicinity of the inner rectum lining. There was no follow-up. In the meantime, my stool caliber has started to diminish and the stool became more ribbon-like.

I had gastrocopy done and was diagnosed with GERD and hiatus hernia. I take PPI (such as omeprasole) on a regular basis.

I had already n-th blood works done and sonography/ecography done and it has not shown any structural issues.

However, about a year ago I developed some postprandial palpitations (rapid/irregular heartbeat after meals). This prompted me to see cardiologist who assumed there might be a stimulation of vagal nerve due to proximity of esophagus. I am currently awaiting for Holter monitor placement.

The doctor said there might be a rare anatomical connection. Lucky me.

In the meantime I spotted that intermittent bleeding has been forced by my increasing constipation and I have started to pass more mucus as well.

I was supposed to have both gastroscopy/colonoscopy done but it was postponed because of Covid outbreak. Now I feel that I have incomplete bowel movement, feel bloated with left-sided pain and it is yet again more difficult to pass the stool. This have had a flat appearance for past two something years. Moreover, I feel anal fullness and the whole area is sore. There are no visible external haemorrhoids.

My concern is this - would sigmoidoscopy (numerous) miss a bigger mass in area up to splenic flexure? Would ecography miss any tumour growth closer to anus/prostate?

Can the stool be flat if the tumour is higher than splenic flexure? This does not make any sense as the stool gets its shape in descending and sigmoid colon and its shape is due to recto-sigmoid spasms. People with tumours of traverse and proximal colon usually report constipation, but not the narrowing of the stool, or do they?

How can I have suffered for 2 years increasing bloating, intermittent bleeding and constipation without potential bowel cancer?

I have no other symptoms, such as vomiting (blockage of proximal colon), weight loss (cachexia due to cancer growth) or iron deficient anaemia (due to significant loss of blood). I have diarrhoea rarely.

I am waiting for NHS' scheduled colonoscopy, but it got postponed yet again due to fall/autumn Covid outbreak.

I am really getting anxious and the symptoms make no sense to me. The only thing that I can think of is cancer and my diminishing window for curability.

Or can it be combination of issues with peristalsis and internal haemorrhoids?

I have read multitude of studies and meta-studies from medical journals and they all lead to one diagnosis - bowel cancer, but they are not consistent with my symptoms and previous examinations. I am anxious, frustrated and not sure how to get NHS to speed up the process as I have respect for their work during these hard times of pandemic.

Sorry for the long read. Dear reader, if you made it this far, thank you and I would really appreciate any comments as I am losing my mind.

17 Replies

Hey bud it seems maybe you have an anxiety disorder and OCD. You know a ton about medical terms which means your constantly worried about your health (not with a lack of symptoms) but it seems to be driving you crazy. I’ve had on and off diharrea since August. Some mucus in my stool here and there. No bleeding and sometimes my stool is narrow but I do have an internal hemorrhoid and they can case your stool to become ribbon like on the way out if they are big enough. I eat healthy. And only drink water and coffee. I’m also worried about bowel cancer though just bc of the inconsistent bowel Movements but I’m not google searching and driving myself crazy. Just try and make another appointment and let the doctors tell you what’s up. Trust them. Your OCD (hypochondriac) will tell you not too but you don’t have the ability to diagnosis yourself so your wasting your time doing that anyways. Just try and enjoy your life and do what needs to be done for your heath through office visits etc... it’s gonna be okay bud. You would have died from untreated colon cancer if it has been two years since what your saying started. It’s a progressive disease. I know bc I lost a great uncle and one of my other uncles has it now.

Thank you Groovydude06 for talking some sense and I will try to manage my OCD and anxiety. This is a case when the knowledge does not play in my favour, but I will try to relax and take it as it comes.

Thank you and be well!

I didn't know internal hemorrhoids could make your stool narrow. Maybe that's what I have.

Well for sure If they are enlarged bc it pushes against your stool on the way out. That and constipation.



Thanks for sharing and I'm really sorry to read about what you are experiencing. You've read up a lot on bowel cancer and that can be both a good thing and it can also cause extreme anxiety.

Right now I would focus on what is within your control. Do you know when you'll be able to get in for the appointment or is it open-ended? Is going private an option? While not ideal financially I'm thinking about your statement about feeling like you are losing your mind.

The cardiac issues could be connected or they may not be, but it is good that you are continuing to follow up and see the doctors for any tests or procedures or treatments that they recommend.

Some people who are ultimately diagnosed with bowel cancer compare notes and did experience very similar symptoms to each other, while others had no symptoms or symptoms that were quite different from each other. What I'm trying to say is that I don't think you'll be able to figure it out entirely through research - you need to be examined and screened.

With the coronavirus delaying screenings and doctor visits, it is easy to get incredibly anxious and become convinced of the worst.

We don't want you to try to ignore what's going on with your body completely, you do need to get checked out and it is a good thing that you are so aware of your past history and current symptoms. My hope for you is that you are able to get in to see a doctor soon and get some answers. It might be worth calling for clarification with the doctor's office as far as when you might be able to see them, although so much is unknown with the current state of things.

The GI system is heavily impacted by stress and anxiety. Try deep breathing, meditation, whatever works for you to find some calmness in a stressful time.

Please give an update when you can and we are thinking of you.

~Nicole @ GCCA

Hi Nicole, thank you.

I will try to chase my local NHS GI department. My GI specialist was not much concerned as I had 3 sigmoidoscopies in past 8 years , numerous ecographies and gastroscopies and they have not shown any malignancies. This has pretty much postponed my examinations. Going private is not an option as I have a big family to take care of (some of the family members were laid off due to the impact of Covid 19 on economy) and not much money. I hope that no matter the diagnosis they will be able to help me.

My data analysis experience and medical knowledge pretty much fuels my OCD and anxiety :(

I have to work on my mental welfare and I will post here any results of the examinations.

Thank you,

Best regards,


Nicole_GCCAAdministrator in reply to Martinmartin

Hi Martinmartin,

Thanks for your reply and I appreciate you sharing all that you are experiencing.

Is it possible to seek some mental health support during this time? OCD and anxiety can have a very real and tangible (negative) effect on your health and it could be a good opportunity to seek support from a mental health professional in the meantime.

I hope that you'll be able to get answers soon, but as you wait (and follow up) for an appointment with a GI doc, that you'll be able to get some support for the anxiety.

Please keep us posted, we are here for you.

~Nicole @ GCCA

With cancer the symptoms are blood and mucus on the stools, narrow stools , can’t empty your bowels have to go sometimes 5 or 6 times a day, some fatigue. A little stomach pain. These were my symptoms when I was diagnosed wit cancer.but it is curable if caught early. Good look

Did you have weird stomach gurgles? I get this sometimes. They are loud.

I haven’t had any blood but had some mucus a couple times. One time even pooped straight mucus but it was after I got really emotionally upset and got butterflies in my stomach. I feel like my stomach is always making noises. I’m 33 and found out I’m diabetic two months ago so I’ve also been worried about chronic pancreatitis due to the drinking I’ve done in my life. I’ve had fatty stools and fatty diarrhea too.

It doesn’t seem like cancer but I would get a colonoscopy just to give you peace of mind. God bless

Nicole_GCCAAdministrator in reply to Groovydude06

Hi Groovydude06 ,

Thanks for sharing with us and I'm sorry for the symptoms you are experiencing. What type of doctor are you under the care of your the symptoms you have?

Since you have diabetes, you have an extra task of ensuring that your doctors are communicating with each other regarding diagnosis and treatment options. Be sure to ask for copies of your medical reports so you can bring copies to your doctor appointments.

I hope you can get a specialist(s) to support your needs with pancreatitis and diabetes.

Please keep us updated,

~Nicole @ GCCA

Hi Martin, I’ve had similar symptoms to you except for the narrowing of stools. I’ve had rectal bleeding off and on since I was a teen, and alarmingly the last 8 months it resurfaced nearly everyday. I had a colonoscopy on July 31 and it came out clear yet I am still bleeding. I also have chronic constipation, but it’s starting to subside with stool softener, benefiber, constant hydration (almost a glass of water every 90 minutes). Mine may be related to runner induced ischemia of the colon or perhaps hemorrhoids or an anal fissure. I saw another doc last week and he’s putting me on a strict regimen of fiber, miralax, metamucil, and hydrocortisone cream to help heal potential fissure or hemorrhoids from chronic constipation. If this doesn’t work, he will due a separate rectal exam since this was not captured in the colonoscopy and if need be another colonoscopy. Anyway, I hope none of our cases are anything serious, but I hope we both get to the bottom of this.

Nicole_GCCAAdministrator in reply to digar

Hi digar,

Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear what you are going through. Glad to hear you and your doctor have a plan and next steps if the symptoms don't resolve. It sounds like you are doing everything right - please keep us posted, we're here for you.

~Nicole @ GCCA

IBS can cause narrow stools, the bleeding can be haemorroids or fissures, at 33 you are young for colon cancer so the chance is low, but I won't rule it out completely.

Let us know how it evolves.

Hello, just a follow up. I had my colonoscopy done today as NHS started to catch up with all the appointments that were postponed due to Covid. My appointment was combined gastroscopy and colonoscopy done one immediately after another. I had sedation containing fentanyl and it successfully knocked me out. I do not remember much, but I was very relieved when the doctor said that there is no underlying malignancy. To be honest, I am still a bit drowsy from sedation, but overtly happy nonetheless. The staff in my local NHS hospital was truly professional and friendly despite their tight schedule.

This way I would like to encourage all the people with horrible symptoms (such as rectal bleeding, chronic pain, diminishing stool caliber, alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea) to get it checked as both gastroscopy and colonoscopy done under sedation are absolutely fine. The odds are that only 4% of people undergoing colonoscopy will get the cancer verdict and that likelihood steeply rises with age. Most of the tumors are slowly growing and surgically treatable. I will surely have this procedure done each 5-10 years to spot any issues early. When you are worried get it checked and get rid off your anxiety. This way I would love to thank NHS and all the great service it does to UK patients.

Thank you all for nice comments and stay safe!


Martinmartin - glad that you had the colonoscopy and it did not show cancer. Did they take any biopsies? Did your colonoscopy show any irregularities? I ask in case there may be a chronic condition that can be managed through medication and diet?

I hope your anxiety has subsided, and very happy for your good news!

~Nicole @ GCCA

No biopsies taken as doctor has not identified any polyps/lesions. The causes of even more alarming symptoms remain unclear. They put it down under visceral hypersensitivity and IBS that might have developed due to previous poisoning. I have chronic pain in the whole GI tract. Plus hiatus hernia and GERD. My IBS is predominantely constipation- related and narrow stools are due to malfunctioning muscles. This would contribute to bleeding as well, straining being a cause of small bleeding fissures. My current state of play is in even more fibre (I have been eating healthy home cooked meals my whole life and my BMI was nearly always perfect), ointment to lube the rectal pathway and managing chronic pain without medication (trying to avoid any dependency).

Thank you Nicole for support! Stay safe!

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