17, afraid I have colon cancer - Colon Cancer Conn...

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17, afraid I have colon cancer

Luca_cd profile image
Luca_cd

Hello everyone. I don't know if this post will be long, so I'm sorry if it gets. First, I'm Luca, I'm 17, male, Brazilian, and I'm freaking out lately. On March 29th, 2021, I went to the bathroom and when I wiped, there was bright blood there. Not so lively, but like a stain. I spent that week searching a lot about it, reading forums and posts by people with the same problem, and I was feeling a bit of cramps and bloating, but it could be due to anxiety. On April 4th I went to bed and I was very stressed and bad so I got up and went downstairs, and thought about telling my mom about it, but decided to wait a bit longer to see if this would pass. After that there was no blood, but about an hour ago I went to the bathroom and there it was, just like before. Now, you could say it's hemorrhoids, and I hope you're right, but... there is bloating or gases, but I always had this kind of problem sometimes in my life, and it might be more psychological. In September 2020 I did a routine blood exam, and it said my blood level was slightly below the recommended, and considering what I read online, it might be a strong symptom. My "hope" is that I also did feces exam and I don't remember being notified about blood in my stool. And the shape isn't thin, neither the color is black. Even so, I'm pretty afraid, especially because I have emetophobia (fear of vomiting). The last time I vomited was when I was 6, and my biggest fear about having cancer is to face treatments like chemo. But before that there's colonoscopy, which I am really afraid of doing due to that fluid we have to drink before the exam. So eh, that's it, I came here because a month ago I was thinking about writing somewhere if things didn't pass, and they did for a time but could reappear at any moment (blood on the stool, in case of colon cancer, may appear once and then weeks later). And just to consider, I'm really really skinny but I've been working out three times a week lately and my nutrition has always been pretty bad (not because I eat too much snacks, pizza, burger and soda, but because I almost don't eat fruits, vegetables and these healthy stuff. It's incomplete). I know that statistically the chances of a 17-year-old having colon cancer are low, but I do have the symptoms, so yeah. And now I don't even know what to think, I'm not even desperate, just inertly sad. Guess I'll have to tell my mom tonight or on the next couple days. If you made it through here, thank you very, very much, hope you are all doing well.

7 Replies

I have had similar symptoms to you. Just like that I had blood and then nothing then about a week later it was back for a bit. I as well experienced bloating and more gas than usual. I am only 18. I would suggest that you go to the doctors to get a small exam where the doctor checks it out feeling for anything irregular which could be hemorrhoids. I would also suggest that you consume more vegetables as it is a good source of health for your colon. also try and add more fibre to you diet. I would assume it’s something like hemorrhoids but if you feel as if something is really off you should go see a specialist in that area as they will know more than you and me about these kind of things. a colonoscopy would totally rule out colon cancer if all goes well. also do not be afraid of it as it really isn’t all that terrible.

I disagree with the 'slightly below' being a "strong symptom" (could be just poor diet instead). Do you experience constipation at times? Hemorrohoids (& 'fissures') are notorious for causing frank (bright red) blood to be noticed on / after stool.

~wbic, member coloncancerconnected forum

MOLLYMILO007 profile image
MOLLYMILO007 in reply to wbiC

Yes I agree I too had a positive fit test as blood in my poo but they found nothing in my colon I changed my diet to more fruit fibre to go easier to the toilet and now I have no problem and no bleeding its very scarey I too thought the worse but unless you have family history weight loss and a bunch of other symptoms I don't think it would be so pls get checked out soon and talk to someone re your anxiety xx

Dude, calm down. It’s health anxiety breaking you down. I wiped my ass a few times seeing a streak of blood. That probably means your either wiping to hard or too often. If you feel a sting after wiping it’s most likely irritated and a bit bloody. If the stools come out flatter that means that the irritation due to wiping has made that “area” to get inflamed making ribbon stools. Also ribbon stools are a symptom of IBS which is extremely common ( along with many other symptoms like stomachs aches, or black shit, literally every colon cancer symptom). IBS HARMLESS!! Take a chill pill my dude. I’m 19 years of age and was stuck in the same mindset as you were about a year ago. It’s easy to look up colon cancer in a teenager and see headlines of a girl who died of colon cancer at 19 because her doctor Misdiagnosed her. While yes that did happen that was an exceptionally unfortunate rare case it’s not really ever likely to happen to you. Let me put it into perspective, If you have 5 people living in your house hold and one of you has a chance of getting cancer, you have a 20% chance of getting it. Meaning you have an 80% of not getting it (that’s not how cancer works Ik but I’m setting something up). Now imagine this. The chance of getting colon cancer before your 20’s is 1-4 in 100,000. Not 100,000 in the population overall (that’s still extremely rare) , it’s actually 1-4 in 100,000 people who have been diagnosed WITH colon cancer already (that’s even more rare). But again don’t look shit up on the internet. I learned from experience of countless weeks just staring at medical articles and depressing headlines. It will fuck up your mind. Please take my advice I genuinely beg you. I hate seeing someone face the existential dread and feeling of impending doom that I once felt. Go outside, talk to your friends, watch movies, YouTube videos, go ask out that lovely girl or boy you’ve been wanting to ask out, if you already have a partner, spend time with them, learn a new hobby. Distract your mind with something and avoid falling into the trap of self diagnosing yourself. It’s a hard mindset to break and it took me months. Here’s some advice if you still don’t believe me and you still feel this dread over you. The reason most people get colon cancer is because they are innactive and eat too much unhealthy foods (continue eating the foods you like, just avoid a lot of red meat). Increase your fiber intake. Wipe your ass more gently 😂 but all jokes aside, take care of your mental health my 👑 Walking outside or doing a sport will significantly reduce your chances of getting cancer. It’s easy to think, “But what if that rare case could be me” or “ If it happened to her it could happen to me”. While yes those thoughts are technically possible (although super duper ultra low) you might as well consider yourself a pessimist to the extreme. Here’s my final life advice for you. If you stress yourself about the future or dying, the stress itself is making you waste your time on this precious planet, so you thinking about it is technically slowly taking your life away. Think rationally my friend and I wish you the best of luck in your life. Take care

-Sincerely,

Omar :)

This isn’t a generated response, this is the first time I got in this site in over a year. I saw your post and wanted to help out Luca!

Hi there its easy to worry but in my experience it turned out to be nothing I'm 62 female healthy etc started with horrific stomach pains low down paid for a ultrasound nothing found so as I too bleed sometimes when having a b.m..doctor did bloody all OK.. but did a fit test came back positive so convinced myself it was bad had a ct colonoscopy it's like a xray they found nothing in my colon at all..pains just went very strange.. I changed my diet to more fibre and fruit and it helped my b.ms daily so no bloodIt could be you ate straining when u go which can cause bright red blood...honestly go to the doctor explain your anxiety and see what they suggest the ct colonoscopy is painless but u do have to take the prep..but its worth it to put your mind at rest good luck x

Hey man,Try not to stress too much.

Same thing happened to me a little while ago. I was so scared it was cancer too. So I arranged an appointment with the doctor. It wasn’t cancer. There’s basically no chance that you could have cancer at your age. I got a blood test to see if there was anything else wrong such as Coeliac disease. I spent ages worrying of I’d ever eat bread and pasta again. I was honestly so stressed. Results came back, everything was normal. I also did stool tests that were normal (besides the blood). Doctor said it’s most likely just IBS with an internal haemorrhoid. Also, IBS symptoms get worse when you’re stressed (I was very stressed as you are). But the bleeding could quite possible be from an internal haemorrhoid. (Which can be caused from things like, low fibre intake, straining when going to the toilet and constipation). So if it is this, fixing your diet may help it go away. The bloating and gas could very likely be from IBS which is actually really common. The bleeding could also be from IBD tho. Which has more complications than IBS. I was going to get a colonoscopy to make sure it’s not IBD but my doctor said there’s a less invasive test they can do to test you for IBD. He also said he’d put his house on it that I don’t have IBD (it’s not that common and my symptoms don’t really fit).

I hope this helps you out cause I know I was so stressed when this happened to me.

Nicole_GCCA profile image
Nicole_GCCAAdministrator

Thanks to everyone who responded to Luca_cd and shared your own personal experiences. It is really helpful to people posting to be able to get a number of different experiences from people of different ages, backgrounds, etc. so I thank you , Steppaa , wbiC , Anxiouskid , MOLLYMILO007 , and Idkausername for sharing.

If you scroll through our posts, you will see we have a lot of members who are terrified that they have colon cancer, some have more symptoms than others, some have a family history, others not. But one thing that is in common is a very high level of anxiety that they have colorectal (also known as bowel) cancer. Many have self-identified as having health anxiety, and that can be a debilitating condition, that needs to be treated as well.

Colorectal cancer is a unique cancer in that it is largely preventable with screening, and with early detection, the survival rates are really high. On the flip side, when detected at a late stage when the cancer has spread throughout the body, the 5-year survival rate is nowhere where we want it to be, however it is improving as new targeted treatments continue to become available. But going through chemo, surgery or radiation or any cancer diagnosis of any kind is traumatic, and we exist to support people who are impacted by the disease and prevent people from developing it through screening, or increase the survival rate through early detection and targeted therapies.

So many cancers have no screening method AT ALL, and colorectal cancer has many, and new technologies continue to come forward, for instance, we believe blood-based screening for colorectal cancer will become (one day) as routine as getting your cholesterol levels checked.

There are SO many possible reasons why people would have blood in the stool or a number of other symptoms that we so frequently see people post about and are certain they have colorectal cancer. Dr. Google doesn't help at all, because it increases anxiety and fear because you are reading articles that say these are the symptoms and you think: check, check, check,... ok I have these symptoms, I have colon cancer.

I do have a request though -- please, know that there is no such thing as being "too young" for colorectal cancer. No one said it on this post explicitly but it is something that we see often in the comment section. It is a tough balance in wanting to calm someone's anxiety about a cancer that takes the lives of nearly one million people worldwide (according to the World Health Organization, for 2020) Link: who.int/news-room/fact-shee... but we also don't want someone to post, read a bunch of encouraging comments saying that they had the same thing and it was nothing, and then the person does not speak to their medical provider because they feel reassured that it is also nothing serious.

From the standpoint of being a global patient advocacy group dedicated to colorectal cancer, we have met or spoken to thousands of people who experienced symptoms, were told that they were "too young" for colorectal cancer, it was "probably just hemorrhoids" or incredibly heartbreaking, pregnant or mothers who had recently given birth being told "your body is adjusting since having the baby, I'm sure it is nothing," And it is so heartbreaking the number of parents or spouses who are left to live their lives without their son or daughter, or spouse or mom or dad because their symptoms were dismissed. Search on social media for #nevertooyoung or #never2young and you will see a lot of real patient stories.

Our hope is that it is nothing. And many of the times it will turn out to be another digestive disease that is managed well with medication, diet changes, etc.

Every time someone posts that they are experiencing a change in bowel habits, we always recommend they speak to a medical professional and get checked out. It isn't just about colon cancer, it could be something else going on with their body - maybe a serious disease, maybe a minor allergy, but regardless, the last thing we want to do is discourage people from getting checked out by their doctor.

Regarding statistics. Yes, the large majority of people who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over 50 years of age. 90% of people who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over the age of 50. But that statistic is changing and not in the right direction.

Colon and particularly rectal cancer are on the rise in people under the age of 35. It is dramatic increase that has researchers stumped - there are theories about our worsening diets, lack of exercise, other environmental factors as well as it being caused due to a hereditary mutation.

Colorectal cancer cases in people under the age of 35 are expected to increase by 90% by the year 2035, if the current trend continues. This is alarming and what's tragic, is that because screening isn't recommended until age 45 or 50 (depending on where you live and who issues the guidelines, also family history will lower that), people who are under 35 are getting diagnosed at later stages.

If you look at all colorectal cancer cases globally, "only" 3-5% of them are caused by a hereditary (inherited) mutation or syndrome that caused the colorectal cancer to develop. However, if you look at the people who are under age 35 and diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it is no longer 3-5%, it is nearly one-third (33%) of these young patients have a hereditary disease that caused them to develop colorectal cancer.

This is why it is so important to have conversations with your family to know if there is a history of any cancer, but as it relates to colorectal cancer, if you have a first degree or second degree relative that had cancerous polyps removed - that is important information for you to share with your doctor. Your risk is just as high as it would be if they died from the disease - but thankfully through screening or early detection, they did not die from the disease. Depending on the type of polyps and other factors, your risk will vary, but this is information your doctor needs to know.

The Global Colon Cancer Association has a free virtual conference with presentations available for viewing on-demand for free at gccacongress.org

We have 10 different topics, from biomarkers to clinical trials, to navigating survivorship, to prevention and screening, etc. Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer is a topic and we have five presentations and an intro video from a young-onset survivor. Some of these presentations are from medical professionals, others from patient advocacy groups and survivors.

gccacongress.org/presentati... is where you'll find the young-onset presentations and we encourage people to view them.

I recognize this is a very long post and my intent here is purely to educate that colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 does happen, and yes cases do occur in teenagers. Yes, thankfully it is not a larger percentage of colorectal cancers that are occurring in people under 50, but the numbers are showing that more and more young people are getting colorectal cancer. If you have symptoms or a family history of colorectal cancer, it is so important to get checked out by a doctor. Again, it may not be colorectal cancer, it may be nothing life-threatening. It may be something minor but through working with their medical professional they can find relief from their symptoms. Many people who post here that are sure they have colorectal cancer end up being diagnosed with Irritiable Bowel Disease (not the same as Irritiable Bowel Syndrome), Colitis, Crohn's Disease or other digestive disorders. While what got them to the doctor was fear of colorectal cancer, they are now being treated for a condition or disease that they were only diagnosed with because of their concern over colorectal cancer.

If you are experiencing any symptoms that are out of the ordinary, (not just talking bowel habits) the smart thing to do is to speak to a doctor who oversees your general health.

If you have GI issues, you may already be under the care of a gastroenterologist and should speak with them.

With so many uncertainties in life, things beyond our control, and diseases that have zero screening methods, colorectal cancer is a disease that we have the power to largely eliminate this disease in the not-so-distant future. There are very few diseases you can say that about, particularly in the world of cancers.

Thank you to our members who are so kind to take the time to respond to posts from people who are very anxious and concerned about potentially having colorectal cancer.

My plea is that while it very well could be nothing life-threatening or colorectal cancer, they should still see a doctor.

If you have any questions or comments, please let's keep this dialogue going.

Sincerely,

Nicole Sheahan

President, Global Colon Cancer Association

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