Confused : Hi! I am 20 years old and... - Colon Cancer Conn...

Colon Cancer Connected

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I am 20 years old and super confused. My grandpa and aunt had colon cancer (stage 1 and were fine after surgery- no radiation needed). I get a strong stomach cramp sometimes when peeing and for the last 2 months or so when I go poop I bleed. Before it was just a little here and there but recently the toilet is red with tiny clots. I went to my doctor who ordered a colonoscopy and said I definitely have colon cancer and it is likely advanced. I haven’t even had the colonoscopy yet! Can you have colon cancer with little to no symptoms?

15 Replies

Hi Traveller1200- Sorry to hear about your health concerns. I don’t know why your doctor would say you definitely have cancer prior to getting a full work up. Rectal bleeding is not normal, so it’s good you’re getting checked. There are several conditions besides cancer that can result in rectal bleeding and change in bowel habits.

My grandma had rectal cancer too, and I have diarrhea and rectal bleeding that lasts for months at times. But I was previously diagnosed via colonoscopy and lab tests, and I have IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).It comes and goes for me, and I take medication for it.

I have read many stories of people with bowel cancer who had no symptoms whatsoever. The bowel cancer that was detected by screening. So, I think it seems premature for your doctor to say definitively that you have cancer if you haven’t yet had the colonoscopy or blood work. Do you have other symptoms such as sudden weight loss or abnormal labs?

I know this is scary, so be sure to ask your doctor questions if you are not sure and need answers. I’m going for a colonoscopy next week, just as a screening for my IBD. I wish you the best! Better to get checked out and treated as soon as possible, whatever the problem may be. I hope you get good news and answers to your questions. Take good care.


Thanks so much for your message- how my doctor painted the picture I thought I was going to die. I haven’t actually had any bloodwork as my doctor says it wouldn’t help with a diagnosis. I have no other symptoms. If you don’t mind me asking, with IBD do you have other symptoms and is there a lot of bleeding or just mild? I tried asking my doctor if there could be another reason like if it had something to do with starting on a new medication about a 2 months ago (methotrexate for arthritis).

Hi Traveller1200-

I’m sorry for the stress you are having. If I were in your shoes, I would clarify with the doctor such as asking what your actual diagnosis and prognosis are. Perhaps they only highly suspect cancer and are preparing you for the worst. I don’t see how they can reach diagnosis without a biopsy or at the very least a colonoscopy.

There are many conditions that can cause rectal bleeding such as hemorrhoids, fissure, inflammatory bowel, infection, response to medication, intussusception, cancer, and diverticulitis. Do you have a GI consult? Many conditions can cause little bleeding to severe bleeding, and you can’t tell by the severity of bleeding alone as to what is the diagnosis. The methotrexate may be a factor, as it can have multiple side effects. Make sure your doctors all know you are on it. Do they want you to continue taking it? I would ask.

As to IBD, the symptoms vary person to person in severity. I get urgency, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, chills and abdominal cramping. Sometimes nausea and vomiting, but rarely. I can be in the restroom 5-10 times a day depending on the flare up. My diagnosis came after lab work, Physical exam and colonoscopy (all from GI doctor referral).

I think the main thing is to clarify your situation with your Primary care doctor, and also talk to GI. We all try to “figure it out” by comparing symptoms with others, but you need the full medical work up to determine what is really going on. Is your colonoscopy soon? You should get a GI referral with that. Please message your doctor, so that you don’t worry needlessly. If you do in fact have cancer, they would make an oncology consult as well. I am thinking you have not been officially diagnosed yet, and need to clarify with your medical provider. It seems horrible that a doctor would tell you that you have cancer that is likely spread, and not explain to you how/why they reached this conclusion before your work up is even complete. Even if it turns out that you do have cancer, please remember there is always hope! Thinking of you & sending good wishes to you!

Thank you again for all the great information! I do not have a GI consult but will be looking into getting one. My doctor says that due to Covid I can not get a colonoscopy for about 2-3 months. I contacted my doctor and asked why he was so sure I had cancer. He got angry with me for second guessing him and said he has been a doctor long enough to recognize these things.


If your doctor was standing in front of me right now I’d punch them in the genitals. You are 20 years old. The likelyhood that you have colon cancer would be like a piano falling out of the sky and randomly killing someone. Seriously .0000001 chance. It’s probably IBD, Colitis, or an ulcer. Do you drink? Do drugs? Have you taken or do you take a lot of pain meds? There are a mountain of things it could be. Colon cancer at 20? Very doubtful. I’m here to give you hope and reasoning.

I have been stressing out and so worried for the last few day’s and your message really helped. Knowing there are so many other things that it could be is nice. I asked about other conditions and he just said that his intuition is never wrong. I do not drink or do drugs and never have. I take pain medication as well as methotrexate for arthritis. I mentioned to my doctor that there are many articles saying methotrexate can cause colitis. He just brushed me off.

You have family history but you are still very young and the risk is extremely low, plus, the blood can be from so many other things.

How can that stupid idiotic doctor scare you like that without even performing a colonscopy first?

Please consider changing doctor ASAP, that attitude is very unprofessional and annoying. He sucks. Period.

Blood in the stool can be from piles, fissures, IBD, peptic ulcer, hiatal hernia, rectal proctitis, diverticulitis, etc...

The possibilities are many, CC is just one of them, but the chance of you having it at that age is close to 0 (despite family history).

I found a really good doctor in my area and have contacted her. Hopefully I can get an appointment soon.

I can’t see how a doctor can say you have cancer without a colonoscopy and plus you are very young to get colon cancer, it could be something else. But I would get the colonoscopy ASAP , good luck


Hello Traveller1200,

Thanks for posting and wow, what a rough experience - I am so sorry to hear this!

Just to start out with the facts - about 5% of colorectal cancers are hereditary. So while this is a low percentage, family history absolutely plays a role. Also, colorectal cancer is on the rise with people under age 50. In short, it is important that you are getting a colonoscopy, but without the proper tests, there is no diagnosis yet, so I'm really shocked (and concerned) that your Dr. said that.

Unless the Dr. performed tests that he hasn't shared with you, I just can't imagine why they would say that.

I would recommend that you try to seek out another Dr. - and see if there's anyway to get a colonoscopy sooner. What country are you in? I can try to connect you to a local non profit that may be able to help you.

Regarding symptoms - some people are diagnosed without symptoms, a large percentage of people in fact. There are so many reasons and possible diseases/reasons why you are experiencing blood, and many are quite treatable chronic conditions.

Again, I'm sorry for all that you are going through - please keep us posted and we'll do our best to connect you with local resources.

~Nicole @ GCCA

You said that your doctor told you that you have colon cancer and then brushed you off. You are 20. The doctor ordered you to have colonoscopy in 3 months and said not to second guess him. This sounds more like "you are 20, not a trained medic so I am going to teach you a lesson" situation. As the doctor knows that the chances for it to be colon cancer are minimal and felt annoyed by you even entertaining this idea.


Traveller1200 - Do you know what I have heard from hundreds of colorectal cancer patients and caregivers? FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! There is no reason that a doctor should ever give out a diagnosis without having performed the tests, their "gut" reaction is not a diagnosis. If your doctor is not treating you with the respect that every patient deserves, time to move on.

It does sound like you need to get a colonoscopy and waiting 2-3 months is a very long time to wait. Why not start with first seeing a specialist for a consult, and finding out more information?

Please try to get another appointment, hopefully a consult with a specialist. Keep us updated, we're here for you.

~Nicole @ GCCA

P.S. I have had many very competent doctors tell me that doctors should ENCOURAGE patients to get second opinions, and if your doctor is going to get upset that you suggest a second opinion, then they are not the right doctor for you.

Thank you so much! I have fired the doctor and reported him for some of his comments. I used a local organization to find a really good specialist.

Nicole_GCCAAdministrator in reply to Traveller1200

Yes! Congratulations on taking control of this and reporting the doctor. Please keep us posted.

We're here for you,

~Nicole @ GCCA

Good for you 👍

It’s awful they put this on you without confirmation.

There isn’t any delays in getting tests for suspected cancer. I had an MRI small bowel Saturday just gone and have endoscopy this Saturday. These are mainly to rule other things out as no one knows if it’s just the endometriosis.

Take care, try not to worry too much until tests come back 🙂

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