| | Colon Cancer Not Always a Polyp
Hi everyone - I've been following this board for a while and am finally ready to contribute. I hope my experiences can help someone.
I am currently recovering from colon cancer surgery (May/03) and have a temporary ileostomy. A little of my history - survived uterine cancer in 1974 after surgery and radiation, small bowel constricture in 1990 and chronic mildly irritated small bowel. Two first cousins were diagonosed with colon cancer 5 years ago so I went to my doctor and asked to be checked out. He said that usually cousins aren't closely enough related to be a factor but with my history he would get me in for a colonoscopy. Everything checked out fine in the spring of 1999. I started having some mild rectal bleeding last winter when I did a particularly hard run (I'm very active) and some anal itching. I decided to see my doctor in early spring as these symptons weren't going away. I was partly convinced to do this after reading alot of messages on this board! Anyways even though my doctor thought it was probably hemorrhoids he sent me to a specialist. To make a long story a little shorter, I had a flex sig done and a small ulcer-like mass - not a polyp - was seen right inside my anus. The biopsy confirmed cancer and fortunately the mass was very small, not yet invaded the wall and was a slow growing type. My original doctor was not able to detect this during a digital rectal exam! I am very lucky that I was able to have it removed with very little of the sphincter muscle. I am hoping for a reversal of my ileostomy in the spring when my colon has healed (I've had a few unpredicitable complications from the surgery). The ileostomy is another story but I am dealing with it and finding it quite manageable - a very small price to pay!. I won't need any further cancer treatment as there were no signs of spread. My point is that if you have any odd or different symptons happening don't ignore them because they don't fit the norm. Listen to your body and get things checked out both for your health and state of mind. Every body is different and only you can take the first step to saving your life! This board is so helpful in steering people in the right direction - please heed the advice and see your doctor if you have any concerns!
Good health to everyone!