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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Colon Cancer Question
Hi, I would just like your opinion. Let me start by saying that I suffer from health anxiety and have for almost a year. Yesterday morning I had a bowel movement and there was a drop of red blood on paper and a couple drops on the stool. Of course, I thought of colon cancer. I went to an urgent care center right away and the doctor gave me a rectal exam(finger) and then used something called an anoscope. He said he saw an internal hemmroid and it was bleeding a bit. When he took out anoscope it had some blood on it. He told me to take stool softener. I drank alot of water and took a softener (metamucil). This morning I had a bowel movement and there was no blood at all. The only thing was that when I wiped, there was a small amount of mucus on the paper. Could this be from the hemmroid? Any reason i should worry and get colonoscopy? I am 36 years old and no family history of colon cancer. Please respond to put my mind at ease.
Colon cancer is more common in people over the age of 50 or and for this reason it's recommended that these individuals get screened for colon cancer and a colonoscopy is one way to do this. People with a family history of colon cancer in a parent or sibling (especially if the family member had colon cancer at a young age) should also be evaluated.
In a young person with no family history of colon cancer, bleeding is likely from hemorrhoids. If a young person has rectal bleeding and diarrhea - an infection or inflammatory bowel disease may be the reason. If you are having very intermittent bleeding, it's likely it is from hemorrhoids and a trial of treating the hemorrhoids and avoiding constipation would be reasonable. If you're having other symptoms too (for ex. unintentional weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain etc.) your healthcare provider may recommend additional evaluation.
Julia Gore Thornton, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University