Re: Worried that I might have Colon Cancer
First of all, a couple of things you need to be aware of.
There has been no definite proof that eating red meat causes colon cancer. Yes, some studies have linked colorectal cancer to our diet, but then other studies show that it isn't. That being said, it is always a good idea to cut back on red meat consumption.
Yes, you could have IBS, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's and sadly colorectal cancer. Please do not assume that just because you are 25 that colorectal cancer cannot affect you. There is another board, totally devoted to colon cancer where just about every member was diagnosed before the age of 50 and where at least half are in their twenties.
You do have symptoms that warrant seeing a doctor regardless of what it is. While I don't know about IBS, I do know that for people with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, the chances increase dramatically over the years that the patient will get colorectal cancer. That is why it is SO important for you to get this checked out.
Anxiety may cause some stomach upset and some other symptoms, but not all of the ones that you are talking about. In particular, the feeling of not emptying your bowels is a sign of rectal cancer but, as you well know, can also mean other things. With regards to your question of polyps and their development into cancer, there is no hard and fast rule. Doctors believe that it can take anywhere from 2-5-10 years for a polyp to turn cancerous. Each individual is different. As a rectal cancer survivor and a colorectal cancer advocate, you need to be aware that over 75% of colorectal cancers are NOT familial in nature. In other words, most people have NO family history. In addition, what is more important is to find out if any of your relatives have had polyps. Remember that colorectal cancer starts as polyps so if you have relatives who had polyps removed that would be a strong reason why you would need to be checked. You also need to not fall into the trap that just because you don't have any bleeding that it means that there is nothing really wrong. A large portion of patients do NOT have any type of rectal bleeding. I, myself, had a 4-6 cm tumor with absolutely no bleeding so you cannot rely on that alone.
You state that you are not anemic but have you actually had your blood tested. Again, that does not necessarily mean anything, so please don't talk yourself out of seeing a doctor because you don't have one or two symptoms that you feel are a must for colorectal cancer. The sad fact is that many people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and they have NO symptoms. It is also a sad fact that most of the younger people diagnosed with colorectal cancer, as solscapes posted earlier, ignored any warning signs that they had or were dismissed by their doctors.
You could very easily have a myriad of diseases, but colorectal cancer is one of them, and yes, it DOES strike young people. It is NOT just a disease for the over 50 crowd! Get to a doctor and get a scope done and don't settle for a sigmoidoscopy. That will only look at a portion of your colon. Push for the colonoscopy. No, the prep isn't the most pleasant thing but the fact is this test saves lives. Remember even if you don't have cancer, but say have UC or Crohn's you need to begin treatment and be monitored to watch for cancer down the road.
Let's hope that you have nothing seriously wrong with you but you will never know unless you get the test. Get over the 'ick' factor of this whole area (IBS, UC, Crohn's or colorectal cancer) and get the test.
I was one of the lucky ones and caught my cancer early. Trust me when I say that you do NOT want to find yourself ignoring these symptoms and finding out down the road that you have a stage III or IV cancer.