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important warning!

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi guys--this is kind of off the cuff but I really think it is important for many of us to pass on.
I have been extremely lucky to have had surgery and chemo to rid myself of bowel cancer--Now to the point!
I was diagnosed in 1997 with heamharoids(never could spell the word-but you get the drift).
The symptoms were bleeding from the bowel albiet only in small amounts.At that time I was told to monitor the bleeding level and should it become worse to see the specialist and have an op. to rectify it.
It was only in july 2003 that I decided to get the op. done and a further exploration revealed my cancer.
Basically the haemharoid problem "masked" my cancer for many months!
It is unfortunate in this day and age that anything to do with ones bowel movements is "taboo"--ie; not spoken of--particularly with males--and is also something that MANY find difficult to see a doctor about.
I am really trying to get the message out that this is very serious--colon cancer is very hard to detect--in my case I was lucky!
PLEASE, PLEASE--tell all who will listen-males/females---if they suffer any bleeding whatever--get it thoroughly checked--it may save lives!This is one cancer that can be "masked" by another illness!
nuph of me
bless you all-kanga n jen

alihamilton's picture
Posts: 348
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi, I am so glad you were diagnosed in time. You make a very important point but I would like to add to that. Not all bowel cancers bleed frequently. My husband had a stool test when he was getting symptoms of nausea and more frequent bowel movements (only about 2 a day) and the test was negative for blood. It is important to be checked for ANY change in bowel habits. Better to be safe than sorry! My husband's cancer was Stage 111 with many lymph nodes involved by the time he was diagnosed.

Sheepy's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: Nov 2003

Kanga - I don't know about Oz, but over here (UK) we seem to have a culture where people under 50 don't expect anything to go wrong - I only discovered my cancer (and got my doctor to take it seriously) when a blood donation test found I was anaemic - no other symptoms whatsoever.

If we routinely monitored our blood counts all our lives, and looked for trends, we might spot some of these things creeping up on us.

I had a medical nine months before my cancer was found, in which no problems were found. It was only later, once my anaemia had dropped below the average acceptable range, that anyone realised that the blood counts from that medical were all right at the bottom of acceptable - i.e. way below the norm for me personally.

Anaemia is often the only symptom of a right-sided tumour - no changes in bowel habit, no visible bleeding.

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

If anyone wants to learn to read thier lab work, this site tells you in plain language: http://carbonbased.com/cbcblood.htm Bud

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Sheepy -

Sounds just like me! You nailed it!

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


Ditto here too. I had NO symptoms other than a blood test which showed I was anemic. No visible signs of blood, however a test later showed the occult blood was there. Testing and knowing your body changes is VERY important. We all must take charge of our health and know symptoms, changes, etc.


Sheepy's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: Nov 2003

I think the root cause of my cancer being missed so long is that the criteria which were used for identifying higher risk concentrated solely on colorectal cancer - and there were no first-degree relatives affected, nor were any under the age of sixty. It's only once HNPCC was brought into the equation that my family history came to life - gall bladder, ovarian, bladder, kidney, you name it, it was all there somewhere.

Anyway, I'm still here, feeling fine (except today - went to a beer festival last night).

Anonymous user (not verified)

Sheepy, how true that is. My husband Bert was diagnosed stage III with lymph node involvement last July (2003) and had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever...not even anemia. His tumor (actually there were two of them) was right at the ilocecal value (where the small intestine connects to the cecum (right) colon. Often times hereditary, considering Bert's dad died of colon cancer, right side, at age 57, Bert had been having sigs done since he was 43 but his BLASTED insurance didn't cover colonscopy until age of 50. Of course, it didn't help much that his doctor was such a butt hole and didn't push the issue which would have qualified him for early colonscopy and I wouldn't be posting on these boards today. But be that as it may, so many times I have read and heard that right sided colon cancers don't show any symptoms. Get a complete colonoscopy and get it as early as possible. Our son is...he's 27 and I am in his face about it at all times. Heck, they even found pre-cancerous pollyps in me...and I've got no history.


Posts: 50
Joined: May 2003

Good point kangatoo
My husband had a similar scenario: he had heavy rectal bleeding, fatigue, change in bowel habits, weight loss, and bloating by the time he went to a specialist for blood tests and a scope. If the tumor were any more obvious it would have leaped out and shook the guys hand but this genius looked my husband in the face and told him he did NOT have cancer, he just had hemmorhoids. Chris soldiered on for several more months in pain and very ill until he relented to having hemmorhoid surgery only to find out it was cancer all along.
Needless to say we fired the doctor but I still harbor some guilt at not having advocated harder at the time.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Yep--some very important info here guys--sorry I didn't mention about the possibility of little or no other symptoms---was really tyring to press the point that there are many symptons which mask the cancer.I have spoken to many guys and gals over here that all of a sudden are asking "why is there not enough information on it?"
Even mammograms here are only free(or at little cost) after ladies reach 50.
I think here in OZ the biggest killer is bowel cancer and ovarian/cervical cancer--mainly because they are so hard to detect.
cheers all kanga and jen

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2004

My husband also had bleeding with his b.m.. He had a bad case of what we thought was the stomach flu and when he went to the dr. it turned out he had hemmorhagic e. coli. But that wasn't all. He had a rectal tumor that was only approx. 1 1/2 inches inside. The initial dr. missed it completely on 2 separate digital exams. After 8 months of bleeding and 3 different antibiotics to kill the e. coli, we finally requested a refferal to a different dr who spotted the tumor within in minutes of the exam and instantly ordered a colonoscopy. I'm thankful everyday that he contracted e. coli. We were told if he hadn't, the tumor could have gone undetected for years. He's only 36 years old now. He was diagnosed with stage 3 initially but after surgery it was determined that no lymph nodes were involved and the dr. dropped him back to a stage 2. He is reattached and post all surgeries.

jgomez's picture
Posts: 25
Joined: Nov 2003

Hi guys, I just want to say my experience from a different view.
I was born in San Francisco and I've been living in Mexico for 24 years. For a long time I had problems with my bowel habits, but I didn't care but my wife insisted, so I went to get my colon by enema, but no problem was detected. Three months later I had strong pain in the abdomen and the doctor said I had colitis.
A month after, I got a stronger abdominal pain and I was in the hospital for three days. In the hospital they used a scan CAT and the doctor said I only had an infection e-colli.
One more month after I was back in the Hospital and the doctor was going to operate me just to open and see what I had. But I was scared and went home to find another doctor.
Another doctor sent me to do a colonscopy and he found my tumor. So I got operated and I got out on my birthday in March 2001 (35 years old).
I went thru chemo for six months, no colostomy, diets, many doctors, but I feel great with my family with two kids and one in progress.

Thank you all for reading my long letter.

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