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Colon Cancer

Could it be colon cancer

05/26/2011

Question:

I`m a 23 year old male. My family has a history of diabetes. I`m being tested for that as well. So for a while now I have had blood in my stool and it happens almost everytime I use the restroom and sometimes there is a lot. I am tired all the time, I get full even when I eat a small amount and I am always either constipated or have diarrhea. Could I have colon cancer? These symptoms have been going on for months now.

Answer:

Signs or symptoms that can be concerning for colon cancer include blood in the stool, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, or a change in bowel habits. However, because age is a risk factor for colon cancer, it would be less likely in someone as young as you are unless there is some other factor that raises your risk, such as a predisposition to colorectal cancer that runs in your family.

There are also syndromes including other types of cancers that run in families that increase the risk for colorectal cancer. If you are tired all the time, it may be because you are anemic (your blood count is low) from blood loss. It is certainly not normal to be losing blood in the stool. While this could potentially be due to hemorrhoids, other conditions such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease are also possibilities, and your symptoms need to be investigated further. Your doctor may recommend blood tests and other specific tests such as a visual inspection of the gastrointestinal tract with a flexible tube with a camera and light on it (flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or possibly upper endoscopy) to determine the specific cause of your symptoms so that you can be treated.

For more information:

Go to the Colon Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Linda Cheng Cummings, MD, MS Linda Cheng Cummings, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University