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Old 04-18-2005, 07:12 PM   #1
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Exclamation If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

because it's been 3 years since I first noticed blood in my stool. But please note that I'm a hypochondriac, if I have a headache, I automatically assume it's a brain tumor, or if I have chest pain, it's a heart attack, ect. Also I'm 27 and have been told by many doctors that CC is rare in people my age, but after reading this message board, it seems as if it can happen at any age. Anyway, the bleeding lasted for a couple months and I was scheduled for a sigmoidoscopy and since the bleeding had stopped just before the appointment I canceled it. I was fine for the next 2 1/2 years, but then I started experiencing hard/large stools again which can be very painful to pass. Of course whenever my stools seem too painful to pass I'll notice some blood. So I started increasing my fiber intake(because I don't get enough fiber to begin with) and excersize and it seemed to work, my stools were softer and easier to pass again. But lately I've been depressed so it's hard to get motivated so my stools have become large and hard again, however, I haven't noticed any bleeding this time, but I fear everytime I have a BM there will be blood. I also have low potassium which I think can cause constipation. I'm so scared to have a colonoscopy now because I'm sure they'll find something. I'm not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of dying in pain. I'd rather not know. I think I should have a CT scan done first because it'll probably detect and mets(if it has spread to my liver and beyond) so I'll know ahead of time what to expect. Wouldn't there be any other symptoms if it were in an advanced stance? Wouldn't I be losing weight? Is it possible this could be something other than colon cancer? I'm very scared!

Last edited by kewpie; 04-18-2005 at 07:21 PM.

 
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Old 04-18-2005, 07:48 PM   #2
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

First of all, IF you have colon cancer (which you don't) you most likely will NOT die. You have to get some help to try to overcome your fears. You should not be afraid of any medical test. Your doctor is only trying to find a solution to your problem. A CT and a Colonoscopy are two very different exams. Because you are experiencing bleeding after passing a hard stool, you are probably suffering from the results of simple constipation. Try taking over-the-counter Metamucil as directed, to soften your stools.

What you need to do is this. Make an appointment to see a general surgeon in his/her office for a rectal exam. If you have a tear (anal fissure) in your rectum, you will need to let this heal before they should do a colonoscopy. At some point, you really should have a colonoscopy performed. Please do get some counseling for your fears. You are jumping to conclusions and sound depressed. The mind is a very powerful thing but you have control over your own choices (and consequences). Please make the doctor's appt. and DO NOT CANCEL it so you can ease your mind once and for all. If it helps any know this...... if your rectal bleeding from two years ago was due to a colon cancer, you would have not lived this long. Stop worrying and do yourself a favor by DOING SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR SYMPTOMS!

 
Old 04-19-2005, 02:02 AM   #3
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

You need to get a colonoscopy. I was diagnosed in my 30s, after having blood in my stools for 2 years. Like you, I put it off. I didn't even no colon cancer existed. My doctors were suprised by my diagnosis, but, during my treatment, I met people in their 20s as well. This DOES NOT mean you have colon cancer, but because I went to see a gastroenterologist, not a general doctor, I was immediately scheduled for a colonsocopy and my cancer was caught early. Colon cancer is very treatable, but, I repeat, this isn't to scare you, it is just to urge you to get the test. A CATscan will show nothing about the health of your colon. The general protocol now is that, whenever a patient shows regular signs of blood in his or her stools, a colonoscopy is done. All the waiting and wondering is causing you so much anxiety, that at least you'll find out what is causing the bleeding. A colonsocopy can also reveal other reasons that your colon is "acting up", that aren't cancer related. All the best.... I'm a worrier too, so, I relate to what you're going through, about health problems, in general.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 06:42 AM   #4
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Whether you have colon cancer or not, we are ALL going to die. Or, as my brother puts it - we are all terminal - none of us get out of this alive!
On a bigger picture it is a FEAR of death that may drive some of your tendancies to think the worst.

That said, my general rule of thumb is NEVER to ignore rectal bleeding. Could be hemmorhoids, could be anal fissures, could be colon cancer. It's still best to find out and then you'll have one less thing to worry about!!

 
Old 04-19-2005, 01:02 PM   #5
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smithn
First of all, IF you have colon cancer (which you don't) you most likely will NOT die.
Kewpie:
This is NOT DIRECTLY IN RESPONSE TO YOU, but does apply! But get that checked out... YOU HAVE TO HAVE a colonoscopy done. Don't fear it, the prep part is the worst-- lots of diarrhea-- use hemmorhoid cream as if it were diaper ointment. You will be in a drugged state for the procedure, and should NOT feel much. If you do, ask for more drugs. I wish you the Best.

Smithn:
I have to correct you ... I'm sorry to say that people DO DIE FROM COLORECTAL CANCER. There are many people on this board who can confirm this fact. Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment early enough due to embarrassment, mis-information, etc. The statistics are grim. I don't mean to be a pessimist. PEOPLE USUALLY DON'T DIE FROM COLORECTAL CANCER WHEN it's CAUGHT EARLY, meaning at an early stage (1 or 2 without nodal involvement).

I know, I have personally heard the stats, been thru surgeries, chemo, radiation. Many of us here have faced a tremendous amount of agony, either suffering ourselves, or watching loved ones fighting this terrible disease.

There are SURVIVORS too... I am one year out from initial resection with Stage 3C Rectal Cancer... the 5 year survival rates for me are between 20-40%. By the way, I'm 32 years old and have every intention of beating these odds. Others on this board have Stage 4 colorectal cancer (the worse you can have), who are bravely battling and beating the odds; we all pray they too will win the fight.

I think it's demeaning to those who have been battling Colorectal Cancer, and those who have loved ones who have died or are dying from Colorectal Cancer to spread the MIS-ADVICE that you don't die from colorectal cancer. Let us ALL FACE THE SAD TRUTH: PEOPLE DO DIE FROM COLORECTAL CANCER. If we get this truth out, more people will be checked by GI professionals earlier, and be spared chemo, or radiation, or having our insides cut out, AND most importantly, be spared the pain suffered by those of us fighting the battle, and those helping us through.

We must not be ashamed or embarrassed, or say things to perpetuate the stereotype that we should be embarrassed or ashamed to GET SCREENED. NOT JUST A HEMACULT CARD. If you have rectal bleeding... PLEASE GET A COLONOSCOPY!!!
WE CAN AND WILL BEAT COLORECTAL CANCER... Though promoting Truth, Awareness, and EARLY DETECTION!

GOD Bless ALL those who have visited this board, and are concerned with colorectal health.

Regards,
CancerDad

 
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:16 PM   #6
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

CancerDad,

This is horrible! If I do have cancer, I'm sure it has it has spread too far for a cure! It's been 3 years! I was misinformed, I was told I was too young, ect. And I canceled the sigmoidoscopy because the bleeding had stopped and since I was told colon cancer was rare at my age I assumed there was nothing to worry about! Now I haven't had any bleeding recently, but I have in the past. However, my stools have been very hard and difficult to pass so I'm assuming this is where the blood is coming from. Although I still fear it's colon cancer, but please remember I'm a hypochondriac so I interpret any symptom for the most sinister diseases! I have panic attacks over health scares! I was wondering if I do hvae this cancer and had a CT scan, would it detect if the cancer had spread to my liver? I'd like to have a CT done first so if I do have colon cancer I'll already know if it has spread or not!

 
Old 04-19-2005, 03:48 PM   #7
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

I agree CancerDad, that is why I'm getting a colonoscopy. My regular doc said "oh, at 27, your too young to have colon cancer!" I said "No, I'm not" So, he's referring me to a GI doctor. Coming here has helped me not be embarrassed about this.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 06:22 PM   #8
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Dear Very Scared:
CONGRATULATIONS! You are definitely making a good choice... little discomfort for piece of mind. BTW.. I did start bleeding at 28-- intermittently. Internal Med doc told me that it was probably hemmorhoids, or stress, or the Advil I was taking. I, like an idiot, believed her. You are never too young and ANY bleeding should ALWAYS be checked out.

Thanks for supporting my post, and helping to SPREAD THE WORD.
Good luck, and let us know how things turn out.
Regards,
CancerDad

 
Old 04-19-2005, 06:29 PM   #9
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Kewpie:
PLEASE DON't over-react! My point in posting was to let everyone know that ANY bleeding warrants being checked out via a colonoscopy. You are never too young, and should NEVER be too embarassed to go get it checked out. GI Specialists are used to seeing you there.

Also, why a sigmoidoscopy?... since you seem to have anxiety, a colonoscopy might be better for you. You clean yourself out-- this is the only thing that is a pain. The rest is easy... They medicate you so you hardly remember anything and are comfortable. If you are NOT comfortable enough... tell them you need more medication. A colonoscopy allows the GI Specialist to evaluate your ENTIRE large intestine also, rather than just the lower or sigmoid part that a sigmoidoscopy allows.

Please don't freak until there is something to freak about. But call your specialist again and book that colonoscopy.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

Regards,
CancerDad

PS No NEED for the CT of the liver until you have verification that something is wrong. You DON'T KNOW THAT! Take it easy (I know easier said than done, but stress on your body is not good either.) It's really necessary to go in a proper order to better assess your condition, and look for what they should be. I KNOW YOU'RE embarrassed about the procedure, but really, no need to be. MOST GI SPECIALISTS DO about 8-10 a day, if not more!! Remember, this is the job they chose. They have heard and SEEN it all!

Last edited by CancerDad; 04-19-2005 at 06:37 PM.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

It's not that I'm embarassed, I'm more scared. I'm worried that they'll probably find something and most likely it'll be too late to do anything. Don't you think after 3 years it would be incurable? If I would have known I could still get colon cancer at 24 back when I was scheduled for the sigmoidoscopy I would have went through with it anyway! And basically the sigmoidoscopy was suggested because my doctor thought the bleeding could be due to inflammatory bowel disease. But I really haven't had any bleeding for almost 2 1/2 years after that! Just a few months ago I noticed it and it's always whenever my stools are very hard otherwise I'm fine! Wouldn't I have other symptoms if the cancer was advanced? I'm making myself sick worrying!

Last edited by kewpie; 04-19-2005 at 07:13 PM.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 08:05 PM   #11
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Kewpie:
Sounds like it's probably due to the constipation then. But wouldn't it be nice to know for sure and STOP WORRYING!? Three years is NOT too long for treatment if you did have something anyway... do you want to wait 4 or 5 or 6 years when there is less that can be done (if there is anything to do!!)???

Just book it. I know it's scary. We have all been there. But jump the first hurdle, and call the specialist. Then lean on us to keep you on track. Okay??
--CDad

 
Old 04-20-2005, 06:26 AM   #12
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

Kewpie, The whole idea is scary, but its the best to get checked. If its the worst, than we'll deal with it! I'll go at it with EVERYTHING I have! I'm praying for all of us! I hope that everything will be ok with you (and me ) .

 
Old 04-24-2005, 02:04 PM   #13
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To Cancer Dad

You need to read my response again. I didn't say that people don't or cannot die from colon cancer - of course they do. What I said was that "most likely" that person will not die - nor would that person "most Likely" die if she has/had a colon cancer. That person POSITIVELY and ABSOLUTELY needs to get checked out (just like you did). Your are most sensitive to this issue because you are a survivor of this awful cancer. In reading back to my response to that other person, I can see the only thing that was out of line for me to say is that "I" don't think he/she has a colon cancer. That was strictly my opinion so I guess I have to apologize for that. I feel that way because out of the hundreds and hundreds of cases of colon cancers I have dealt with, the MOST LIKELY (key word here) patient to have a colon cancer is one who is bleeding rectally, has Hem+ stools and/or is suffering from a change in stool caliber or constipation. Of course some do not have warning signs at all and that is all the more reason a colonoscopy is in order for anyone over the age of 40 who is asymptomatic. The FACT is: MOST people who have a colon cancer DO NOT die from it when treated aggressively and in a prompt manner. Most people - not all people. That's what I said, meant and I stand on that. My family history is full of colon cancer. My father, grandfather, mother and two uncles all had it. My grandfather died from it because he didn't use good sense in being agreeable with the treatment suggested by his physician - he let himself go. This puts myself in the high-risk category, naturally. However, if I have ever have a colon cancer will I MOST LIKELY die from it? No I MOST LIKELY won't. - because I will seek and follow the advise of a physician promptly and not put off any colorectal symptoms. They are warning signs which should never be ignored. Only God determines what will happen untimately of course, but because I witness it on a daily basis working in the hospital that I do, I can say that there is great hope for a person (such as yourself) who has a cancer of the colon. I apologize to you for evidently not making myself clearer. I didn't mean to offend you or anyone else.

Last edited by smithn; 04-24-2005 at 04:32 PM.

 
Old 04-24-2005, 03:48 PM   #14
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

KEWPIE-

Quote:
Originally Posted by kewpie
I was scheduled for a sigmoidoscopy and since the bleeding had stopped just before the appointment I canceled it. I was fine for the next 2 1/2 years
Chances are, if you had a malignancy, the bleeding would not have stopped, especially for 2 1/2 years


Quote:
Of course whenever my stools seem too painful to pass I'll notice some blood.
Okay. Hard painful stools with bleeding. Something to take note of. BUT you said:

Quote:
So I started increasing my fiber intake(because I don't get enough fiber to begin with) and excersize and it seemed to work, my stools were softer and easier to pass again.
For constipation not caused by malignancy, fiber and exercise work.
If there is cancer, fiber and exercise wouldn't have helped for long.

Quote:
But lately I've been depressed so it's hard to get motivated so my stools have become large and hard again
Depression, therefore losing motivation for exercise and healthier eating, therefore constipation again.
Kewpie, kewpie...think about this. Your symptoms abate when you are being vigilent about your lifestyle habits. The symptoms of constipation come back when you get "lazy"!

Quote:
Wouldn't there be any other symptoms if it were in an advanced stance? Wouldn't I be losing weight?
YES! Especially after 3 years. And even THEN it still wouldn't necessarily mean it's cancer.
A good thing to remind yourself of is that serious organic disease, especially malignancy, does not "stand still". It does not wax and wane, or just come and go over years.


Quote:
Is it possible this could be something other than colon cancer?
Absolutely yes, of course. From everything you've told us, it sounds more like you are prone to constipation which hardens your stools and hence the bleeding.

However, all the above being said, rectal bleeding should never be ignored and along with everyone else here, I agree that you should have a colonoscopy. Forget cancer. You could have benign intestinal polyps, internal hemorrhoids, fissures.

A colonoscopy is painless ( I actually had light general anesthesia so was out like a light!).
As others said, the prep the day before is a drag though. Apart from having to take laxative stuff to clean yourself out, you also have to fast.. but you are allowed boullion or tea/coffee without milk, or any jello that's not RED, or hard boiled candies (again no cherry!). I can't remember what else.

Still, you get thru it, you go in the next morning for the procedure. It's over before you know it!

Just do it!

zuzu xx

 
Old 04-24-2005, 06:53 PM   #15
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Re: If I have colon cancer I'm most likely going to die!

"The FACT is: MOST people who have a colon cancer DO NOT die from it when treated aggressively and in a prompt manner. Most people - not all people. That's what I said, meant and I stand on that. My family history is full of colon cancer." posted by SmithN

SmithN:
Again, I must agree to disagree with your second response. You do echo my sentiments that WHEN CAUGHT EARLY, Colo-Rectal Cancer is >90% curable. We are talking about Dukes Stage A Cancer Survivors. Due to humiliation, embarrassment, and misinformation that I believe was perpetuated and is further perpetuated in your second statement, MOST people, unfortunately, DO NOT SEEK TREATMENT in initial stages of Colorectal Cancer. Therefore, MOST people dx with this form of cancer are dx at a later stage and therefore have an increased risk of death. I went to my doctor, and was provided MISINFORMATION which led me to ignore symptoms. Even general practice physicians do not provide the correct information.

I swiped these stats off the National Cancer Institute Website:

Colorectal Cancers
Cancers of the colon and rectum are the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and the third most frequently diagnosed cancers in men (after lung and prostate cancer) and women (after lung and breast). The general population faces a lifetime risk of about 5 percent for developing the disease, while someone with a family

Estimated new cases, 2001: 135,400

Estimated deaths, 2001: 56,700

Trends, 1990-1997:

annual change in new cases: -1.7 percent
annual change in deaths: -1.8 percent
Five-year survival, 1989-1996:

all stages: 61.3 percent
localized: 90.0 percent
regional: 65.0 percent
distant: 8.3 percent


These are just some of MANY Stats available... These stats are from 90's. I was told at that with Stage 3C Rectal Cancer, I have a 20%-40%(less with the greater number of localized nodes involved) {maybe 45%} chance to live 5 years. This is WITH significant treatment... chemo/radiation/surgery/more chemo. I attended the CURE convention this past year in Texas, and experts from around the country echoed the same stats. Furthermore, they raved about how great it was that studies show that newer drugs (Avastin and Erbitux) add 6-8 months to your life!!!

Furthermore, Cancer.org states: "Overall, only 39% of Colorectal patients diagnosed between 1995 and 2000 had localized stage disease. Among patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer from 1995 to 2000, the five year survival rate was about 90% for those diagnosed at the localized stage and 10% for the distant stage."

Most patients do not recognize the symptoms, or are too embarrassed to do anything about them due to mis-information and IGNORANCE. Since you have dealt with so many colorectal cancer patients, you of all people should know this. "I feel that way because out of the hundreds and hundreds of cases of colon cancers I have dealt with, the MOST LIKELY (key word here) patient to have a colon cancer is one who is bleeding rectally, has Hem+ stools and/or is suffering from a change in stool caliber or constipation" (SmithN).

Lastly, I would like to suggest to you that since so many of your relatives have had colon cancer, you ARE AWARE that you most likely have a genetic factor at play. For your sake, I hope you have had genetic testing for HNPCC and FAP to know whether you are at increased risk of getting this disease, or are getting colonoscopies at least yearly.

"My family history is full of colon cancer. My father, grandfather, mother and two uncles all had it. My grandfather died from it because he didn't use good sense in being agreeable with the treatment suggested by his physician - he let himself go. This puts myself in the high-risk category, naturally" (SmithN).

As you can tell, your darn right I am VERY VOCAL as a Rectal Cancer survivor about those that provide mis-information and perpetuate mis-perceptions about the disease. For your patients' sake (if you are a medical professional) I hope you use this information as I intend it: to further educate you and prompt you to look into the MANY data published on the subject.

I do appreciate your apology. I like to be optimistic, and do believe that I WILL beat the odds as will MANY OF US on this board. Of course EVERYONE should hold hope, pray, and have a positive attitude toward treatment. I pray for those fighting this horrific disease, and for you.

Respectfully yours,
CancerDad

 
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