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Panic caused by too much information - IBS or Colon Cancer!

IBS colon cancer

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#1 kcube133

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 09:05 AM

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Hello, 

 

I've been really impressed by how knowledgeable and helpful the members of this website are so I thought I would share the panic I am currently going through and hoping to receive some help/support. After reading other stories, this appears to be mild, but still, when this gets in your head, it stays there and doesn't stop spinning.  

 

I am a 42 year old male. Healthy. 6'0. 185 lbs. I never get sick. So when this has happened, I am not used to this so I start to panic. 

 

I have never had any issues with my stomach, bowel movements, constipation, blood in stool, etc. Occasionally deal with diarrhea.

 

A month ago, I specifically remember eating something for breakfast and right when I was done, I remember thinking to myself, wow, I got full really fast. I've never had that feeling before. The bread I noticed was weird, and very thick. Overly thick. I started to feel bloated and the next day I felt bloated, full, lack of appetite, diarrhea. These symptoms lasted for about 6-7 days where little by little, the bloating and diarrhea went away and then I regained my full appetite. Never did I see blood in my stools.

 

Thereafter, I was perfectly fine for two weeks. Normal bowel movements (I take Metamucil at night - one small teaspoon). Normal appetite. The last week of the above two weeks, we had a family vacation that involved heavy drinking throughout the day. Rum and cokes on the beach (not sure if this is relevant). Anyways, so last Thursday, I felt the bloating come back. Same exact symptoms as before. Today is Wednesday and I am now improved and this week is tracking in the same exact pattern as the month ago.

 

I went to my Doctor on Monday and he ran a CBC blood test. All came back normal.

I went to a Gastro Doctor on Tuesday and he believes I have IBS but still wants me to do a Colonoscopy. I have it scheduled in 2 weeks.

 

So, as I am sure everyone here knows, when you start looking at symptoms and reading the internet, your mind goes insane and instantly you have colon cancer.

 

Couple of other facts:

No family history of colon cancer - my father had a polyp removed at 62 (died for completely other reasons).

No red blood in stools ever. Sometimes I have seen dark brown but I don't believe it's the level of black.

As I reach the end of the week with the symptoms, I feel a little stuffy and feel like I have some mucus in my nose. 

I have never had any pain in my stomach. 

 

My Gastro kept telling me one of the symptoms of colon cancer is "change in bowel habits". I have always had 1 or 2 bowel movements a day, including during these 2 episodes. Does "change in bowel habits" mean, like changing from 1/2 to 4/5 or 5/6 or something like that? 

 

Doesn't the CBC blood work, by being normal, show there is no internal bleeding so if I do have some type of cancer that it is not advanced? 

 

He believes that first incident possibly triggered something in my body and now I will have IBS. I don't have a problem with that vs any type of colon cancer.

 

I have a friend who said the colonoscopy is overkill in this considering the symptoms I have been showing. 

 

Does anything I have typed lead anyone here to believe it could possibly be colon cancer? I just don't see it - especially having 2 episodes that appear to be the same exact pattern. 

 

I would appreciate any comments while I wait for my colonoscopy in 2 weeks. 

 

 

 



#2 lithium

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 03:02 AM

Don't read the internet. Even doctors can't diagnose without running a battery of tests. If symptoms are minor then doing a colonoscopy may not be justified.



#3 William Hobba

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 10:36 AM

I was diagnosed 40 years ago with a barium enema.  I had a colonoscopy 12 years ago and wont be getting another unless I get a red flag eg I start bleeding.

 

The fact is colonoscopies are not risk free - 5 out of 1000 have serious complications with perforation (often leading to death) in 1 in 1000.  Getting one is based on risk vs reward.  Most people diagnosed with IBS using the Rome 3 criteria have just that with at least a 95% confidence. Yes - cancer can sometimes mimic IBS and without question there are people out there diagnosed with IBS who have cancer.  But the interesting thing is this - studies have shown if you meet the Rome 3 criteria the chance of you having Colon cancer is the same or even lower than the general population:

http://www.medscape....rticle/708947_1

 

Bottom line here is if you have been diagnosed with IBS you don't have any greater chance of having colon cancer than anyone else.  At 42 your risk is low - I think its about 1/1000 so risk vs reward may not be there.  If it sets your mind at rest go for it - but I personally would get a flexible sigmoidoscopy which is nearly risk free and decide what you want to do after that.

 

Thanks

Bill



#4 kcube133

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 06:55 PM

Thank you for your replies.

Bill - I am obtaining a 2nd opinion this week. After looking back at my meeting with the Doctor and becoming more educated in the matter - Im not 100% convinced he had my best interests in mind. Your post certainly adds to my education. Thanks.

#5 William Hobba

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Posted 07 August 2016 - 12:11 AM

After looking back at my meeting with the Doctor and becoming more educated in the matter - Im not 100% convinced he had my best interests in mind.

 

He likely does.

 

Its just that in medicine there is a gut feeling aspect to it.  Is setting you mind at rest with a colonoscopy worth the risk.  There is no hard and fast rule on this - its up to your doctors 'intuitive' feel on it and past experience.

 

In my case I go to pieces when I get tests done.  My doctor knows this and balances getting them done against the stress it causes me.  Make no mistake though - if I need a test it gets done.  I went to pieces 12 years ago when I got my colonoscopy - but I needed it then.  I saw a psychiatrist to cope, went on Xanax and got it done.  But most patients are not like me and getting the test done often reduces stress.

 

Sure - get a second opinion or switch to a flexible sigmoidoscopy - but there is nothing definite about this - it all quite grey.

 

For what its worth I would simply get a flexible sigmoidoscopy done.  It has much lower risk and you do not need to go under anesthesia which also increasses risk.  For example one study showed 1 perforation in 40000 sigmoidoscopy's vs 4 in 2377 colonoscopies - and that's just perforation.  At your age the risk vs reward of a full colonoscopy IMHO just isn't worth it.

 

Thanks

Bill



#6 kcube133

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Posted 07 August 2016 - 01:57 PM

Thank you Bill.





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