HealthBoards (
-   Cancer: Rectal & Anal (
-   -   What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis? (

busymommy 02-13-2004 10:42 AM

What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
For anyone who has been diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer, what were your symptoms that prompted you to contact your physician? None? Was it found during a physical? Did you have obivous symptoms?

Thank you.

Greeno4England 02-13-2004 11:07 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
Great thread, i would be very intrested to see peoples symptoms.

Nassau one 02-13-2004 02:22 PM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
There are so many possible symptoms as well as none at all. My husband felt fine with mild nausea and going to the bathroom twice a day instead of once. Otherwise, no loss of weight, no weakness, no bleeding, nothing. Just shows you have to check with the doctor with any change in habit, however slight. By the time he was diagnosed, he had stage 111 with alot of lymph node involvement.

vonniekai 02-13-2004 05:40 PM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
My husband had no symptoms for a long time. From time to time, he complained of diarrhea and flat, ribbon-like stool, but it was infrequent. In an unrelated event, he was hospitalized for a seizure due to an insulin reaction and the doctor gave him some heparin. He had severe rectal bleeding right after getting the heparin and the doctor said it was due to blood thinners causing his hemorroids to bleed. He had never been previously diagnosed with hemorroids, by the way. After he was discharged, he continued to have rectal bleeding off and on for several weeks and the doctor kept saying it was hemorroids and the bleeding would go away. Finally, we insisted that the bleeding wasn't normal and the doctor scheduled a colonoscopy and that's how the cancer was diagnosed. He was Stage III by the time he had surgery. If the doctor had ordered the colonoscopy earlier, he may have been Stage II, but it's hard to be sure. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

ktee_uk 02-14-2004 02:40 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
Husband bowel cancer spread to liver. Now age 45.

Husband had rectal bleeding but also suffered from hems so it was put down to that. Then the change in toilet habbit (diahhrea and stomach cramps). Suspected IBS. Then the weight loss. This all happened gradually during last last year.

He was only 43 when he first approached his GP about hems and as he genuinely has them, there was no need to suspect anything more sinister. I think it was in summertime, that was when he started to lose weight but only enough to make people comment that he was looking trim and of course he felt good cos he was at his best weight and

When the change in toilet habbit occurred (I am a little sketchy about when this exactly was cos we weren't in the habbit of talking toilet :rolleyes: ) think it was Oct/Nov last year, things seemed to accellerate. By the time Christmas had come he was jumping to toilet 3/4 times a day. The weight loss was more pronounced too. Quite a few people (including my own mother who ironically also was diagnosed with same desease - will post another thread about that one) accused me of not looking after him ( despite the fact that he is a grown man and is happy to cook and feed himself) and this cut very deep with me. Those people do not look me in the eye any more (except for mum and I do forgive her).

Anyhow, he ended up losing about 40lbs total up to his bowel resection and another 10 lbs afterwards. He saw his GP just after Christmas and he then referred him to our bowel surgeon. We had to wait until March to see him (British national health service) and from there we were fast tracked through all the tests up to sugery.

ktee_uk 02-14-2004 02:45 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
My mother has bowel cancer spread to liver and lung. Now age 78.

Being on the old side, mum has a number of health problems which masked the bowel cancer. Her stomach was very extended which was not unusual and she took and still takes water retention medication. Her health was "normal for mum" up to about 2 weeks before diagnosis after being admitted into hospital as she had finally shown symption of constipation and pain across stomach and both sides of stomach.

No weight loss. Toilet habbits unknown as she will not discuss them with me :o

Nassau one 02-14-2004 08:02 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?

This is why I am glad I do not live in the UK...that time lapse between the time your husband saw his GP and his surgery was ridiculous! My husband was diagnosed on a Tuesday having been referred by his doctor a week before, and had surgery on Friday of the same week. Chemo started a month later but that was delayed a little because of complications my husband experienced during surgery. What a time you have too for that matter, but you have two loved ones affected...I do not know how you are coping so well.

jaydees 02-14-2004 08:18 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
When I was 40 my mother went to emergency with severe pain and constipation. She had a tumour removed in emergency surgery but no mets from it. I had a colonoscopy a few months later and nothing was found. I was told to have another one in 3 years.

When I was 45 I had some rectal bleeding just before Christmas but I assumed it was hemerroids and started cream and suppositories. Due to all the rush and bustle over the holidays I simply ignored it until mid January when I realized that the Prep H was not doing anything about the bleeding. I was also having trouble with BM's in that I had ribbon like feces and I did not feel like I was "empty" after a BM. I made a doctor's appointment and got to see him in early Feb. He did a digital exam and said that what he found he wasn't saying it was cancer but it was a bumpy growth and hemmeroids are smooth. He immediatly sent me to a surgeon who set up the colonoscopy for late Feb.

Long story short, I had a rectal resection(removal of the entire rectum, anal sphincter and some butt muscle), and a permanent colostomy. The tumour was only an inch and a half or so from the anus.

I lost 20 pounds (not that I couldn't afford it :) ) from the surgery and recovery. Gained it all back shortly afterward since the appetite returns before you can actually get up and walk about normally. :eek:

Finnaly, if I had had another colonoscopy 3 years after the first one it probably would have not gotten to this point where I have the colostomy.

as ktee said, would've, could've, should've :nono:

West Coast Girl 02-14-2004 07:00 PM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
I had minor rectal bleeding sometimes after I did some trail running. Also some itching. I've had a sensitive system for years and a very good doctor who likes to get everything thoroughly checked out. Even though he suspected hemmies he referred me to a gastro specialist I had seen before - in fact he had done a scope on me 4 years earlier (all clear). He suspected hemmies as well but did a flex sig anyway and found a small ulcer-like growth right at the anus which turned out to be malignant. I had radiation treatments 30 years ago for uterine cancer and my oncologist suspects this is where this growth may have come from. To make a long story short, after a couple of surgeries with complications resulting (again from radiation damage) I now have a permanent colostomy - very easy to live with! As my cancer was very small I didn't require any other treatment - I am very lucky! My recommendation - be very conscious about changes in your body and get them checked out ASAP!

busymommy 02-15-2004 10:35 AM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
Thank you everyone for your candidness. I am positive you will make people "think" who are reading these posts and maybe bring to light symptoms (and the lack thereof) that may lead them to diagnosing a serious problem.

Busymommy (of two young 7 & 9 ACTIVE boys!)

Naiad 02-23-2004 11:15 PM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
Good question to start an informative thread that may help many people.
My bowel cancer started by the fact that for the first time in my life (I'm a 46 year old male) I was constipated. As I knew this was not right for me, I went to my GP before trying any laxatives, and he immediately started tests. The end result was the removal of a lower bowel tumour the size of a small cantalope, and now chemo for the cancer that had spread to my liver.
From what I've read, most cancers show no symptoms until they cause a problem in another part of the body. Listen to your body, no one else can!

ckd 02-24-2004 02:28 PM

Re: What Were Your Symptoms Before Diagnosis?
I had only rectal bleeding, one episode in November and one in December that would not stop with hemorrhoid intervention. PA referred me to GI due to positive stool test and everything took off from there. Very surprising considering I am only 33 and no family history. Doctors cannot believe how early it was found. Home now after resection. No spread to lining or lymph nodes so just need to learn how to move on and not be fearful!


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:03 PM.