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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I am worried that something might be wrong with me. I hope that it is mainly me overreacting, but I need your opinion....Last Novemer of 2009, my grandma (she's full Japanese) found a lump on her breast that turned out to be cancer and had it removed. She told me that cancer runs in her family; her 2 sisters died of breast cancer and her brother died of stomach cancer. I am 24 years old. For a while now, I have had ribbon-like stools, stools that are loose, and diahrrea. I'd say my stool is "normal" shape, size and hardness just one out of every 10 - 15 bowel movements. There have been a few times when I had loose stool and I could see undigested food that I had eaten a few hours before the bowel movement (cilantro, sesame seeds). When I wipe, there is usually some blood on the toilet paper, but I don't notice any in the toilet. Sometimes it also hurts when I wipe, which might be something else. And lately, I have noticed a little more gas and bloating (I'm not sure if its more, or that I'm a little paranoid about it).I don't really keep track of what I eat, but I think that there could be a link to the hardness of my stools and my diet. I would say that these last few weeks have had me the most worried, since this has been going on for a while now. Sometime last week my girlfriend and I shared a bag of hot cheetos (basically the only thing I ate that day) and when I had a bowel movement, it was a red diahrrea and it burned. Since then, its been the ribbon, loose or normal stools.I am going to make a doctors appointment this week (hopefully it doesnt cost too much since I do not have insurance)This is basically what has been happening. Forgive me if it is hard to understand as it is 4:45am as I write this (Can't sleep do to worrying)... If you need me to elaborate a little more I can, but your opinion, advice and prayers are greatly appreciated. Love to All...
 

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Even in families with any other cancer but colon cancer in it, colon cancer is exceedingly rare in anyone under 50. If 1/2 your family had colon cancer before 40 you are at higher risk, but they probably would have you on regular screening colonoscopies already.The idea that ribbon or pencil thin stools mean cancer was developed in the 1800's with no data what-so-ever to back it up. It was something someone thought was logical and everyone repeated it. Recent evidence shows stool shape is based on stool consistency. If it isn't hard enough to hold it's shape when squeezed it will come out squished up in some way.All humans have undigested food in their stool. Hard things like seeds come out the way they go down in all people. This is not a symptom of any disorder and certainly not something seen only in cancer patients.Blood on the paper should be checked out, but that usually is from a hemorrhoid or an anal fissure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Kathleen
So even though my grandmother had colon cancer two years ago and had part of her colon removed, me getting cancer would be extremely rare???... Aside from that, my other question is...I went to the doctor the other day, and he thinks that the blood could be from internal hemorrhoids, which makes some sense, because I do sometimes have a little irritation around my rectal area when I wipe. So he gave me some meds (cream and suppositories)... He told me to come back if the problems persist.But what about my stomach problems? He said he didn't want to refer me to a specialist because he believes its hemorrhoids. But I've been noticing a lot of bloating and a gassy feeling in my stomach to where my stomach growls and I can feel things going on inside. I have stools that are either teary/loose or diahrrea. Sometimes after eating, I have to use the bathroom within the hour and when I drink soda, I can feel it inside my stomach, but more of a tingly/burn sensation.. What could this be from? Could these be indicators of IBS or another disorder?... If so, should I stay away from certain foods/drinks...any other tips?? Also, my paternal grandmother had a brother that died of stomach cancer probably about 20+ years ago. Should this make me even more concerned, especially since my stomach has been feeling weird?
 

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At the age of 24, extremely rare. If you were 54 things would be different but your doctor should have gotten you in for your first screening by then. (should have the first screening at 50...even at 50 it is fairly uncommon but that is when the likelyhood of colon cancer goes up, and most people get cancers around the same age the person did. If your grandparent gets cancer at 80 expect to need to watch out for that at 70-80 not at 20-25)Colon cancer is only common in the elderly. If your grandmother got it after 50 she is in the normal risk for colon cancer group.There is a disease where people get colon cancer in their 20s, 30's or early 40's but 1/2 your family would have it, and you would be talking about your Mom and Dad, not your grandparents.Everyone eventually gets colon polyps, but it takes a long time. Unless you have a polyp disease which runs in families where people get hundreds and hundreds of them in their teens rather than waiting until their late 40's to late 60's to get their first one.A colon polyp hangs out usually for many years before it turns into cancer and the vast majority of colon polyps never do anything other than being a polyp.You don't want colon cancer. Get your preventative colonoscopy at 50 and then every 5-10 years after that and they will remove any polyps that form later on.It is very rare for anyone, even with grandparents who had colon cancer after 50 to get colon cancer at 24. Unless you are from a family with the polyp disease then about 1/2 your family has it and they would already have you on a screening routine by now. Usually what people call "stomach" is intestinal rather than stomach (unless all the gurgling is really up in your chest area but that type of stomach problem usually doesn't cause diarrhea/loose stools. IBS causes all kinds of gurling, pain, bloating, discomfort, every stool consistency imaginable and a few you can't imagine until they happen to you. Having a BM shortly after a meal is very indicative of IBS. Carbonated beverages sometimes do bother some IBSers. There is no one size fits all diet that will cure IBS, but if you find something regularly makes your symptoms worse, then you might want to limit that. However usually it is how you eat, not what you eat that sets off IBS after meals. So a large meal after you skipped a meal or two will cause diarrhea more often than small frequent fairly low fat meals.IBS is extremely common in 20 somethings. About 5-10% of all adults have IBS so it is most likely that. Colon cancer rarely causes any symptoms until just before it kills you, which is why they screen everyone over 50 because most people don't know if they have a polyp and even most with colon cancer do not even know they have it. But like I said that is in people FIFTY years old and older. Colon cancer is just not a disease of young people. It takes a lot of wear and tear before it shows up. Other cancers are common in young people, just not this one (unless your family has a polyp disease, as I said).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you!...Now that you've explained it a little more to me, I feel a lot better....So if I do have IBS, how can I find out for sure? What type of procedure is needed to check and what can I expect to happen?
 

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Depending on your symptoms and age and medical history the doctors will do some tests.May be as simple as a few blood tests and a stool sample, but may include some other tests. Some doctors like to test for everything else, some doctors follow the excessive testing just makes IBS worse so tend to limit tests if your symptoms are typical of IBS and the blood and stool tests are normal.You probably want to make sure the doctor checks for celiac disease, not all of them do that routinely, and in the USA there is a fairly new blood test that can help to rule in or rule out IBS. http://www.ibsbloodtest.com/ But mostly they do want to check that you don't have other diseases going on and IBS really is what is going on.After that they can usually work through a few prescriptions to see if any of those help you manage the illness.
 

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Diarrhea is not a symptom of cancer and so why do you worry about it. But it said that cancer is hereditary better to have a check up once.
 
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