Worried about bowel cancer

If you're worried about possible bowel cancer symptoms or are awaiting diagnosis, you can ask questions and get advice here. You can find out more about the symptoms of bowel cancer on our website.

Knicky

Anxious about symptoms

Hi everyone,

Apologies for the essay.

I'm 36 and back in early 2020 I began noticing blood after a bowel movement. I saw a nurse who examined me and saw small piles, he said to go back if the bleeding carried on. Well the bleeding was sporadic, and would happen on and off. Due to Covid I never went back.

Well over 2 years later and the bleeding still happens. It seems to flare up and then not happen for a while. My bowel movements are sporadic, sometimes soft- sometimes harder to pass.

I am under the care of an endocrinologist due to high prolactin and mentioned the symptoms to him, he suspected Colitis and sent me for an MRI of the small bowel in January. He also did a blood test and my iron was Norma. The findings of the MRI were:

Conventional MRI sequences of the small bowel performed.
There is no pathology seen of the small bowel. The small bowel loops are of normal
calibre with normal signal with no evidence of any strictures or inflammation or
Obstruction.
The large bowel shows evidence of faecal loading throughout and up to the rectum
but no mechanical obstruction currently seen on MRI. No perianal disease currently
seen on these large field of view images.
The liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, both adrenals and both kidneys appear
normal. There is no mesenteric abnormality or any free fluid. No abnormal lymph
node enlargement seen within the para-aortic region or the pelvis. The visualised
bones appear within normal limits
CONCLUSION / RECOMMENDATION:
Normal MRI of the small bowel

Satisfied with this I didn't pursue anything.

Well on Monday I had the worst bowel movement, it was so hard and painful to pass I felt I was going to pass out. After this there was lots of blood, both when wiping and in the toilet. Even when I pushed for a wee after this there would be blood from my bottom. My bowel movements since then have been strange, more frequent and soft - sometimes with blood after wiping and yesterday looked like there were red streaks in my poo.

I'm so angry with myself and feel I could have had cancer for 2 years, I'm so proactive with my health but obviously have not been so with this.

I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist on Monday, so will tell him all this but I'm so anxious.

momentbymonent

@Knicky I'm so sorry you are feeling so anxious and scared and it is excellent that you are seeing a gastro on Monday so you can discuss all this properly with them. Your symptoms could be a number of things and you might want to push for colonoscopy to rule out BC. That said - and if it's any help in easing anxiety until you have a proper discussion with a medic - it was a small bowel MRI that picked up my BC very clearly (they weren't looking for that or worried although in retrospect given my very low iron and HB levels they should have been). So while a clear MRI can't rule it out like a colonoscopy can, its positive that it didn't pick up anything untoward. Best of luck for Monday :x::x:

Knicky

Thank you so much for reply. How are you doing now?

I am feeling so nervous about Monday and then the wait for further tests. It’s my daughter’s birthday Tuesday and I’m just in a worry flurry.

Every niggle I get I’m convinced it’s to do with my bowels. I wish I’d been more persistent back in 2020, but I felt satisfied by the professionals and as the blood was intermittent and covid hit I didn’t push.

Lirio345

Good afternoon @Knicky, a very warm welcome to the forum although I am very sorry to hear of your health concerns.

Although it won’t feel like it having an appointment with the Gastroenterologist in just a few days is really good. The waiting is awful, something we have all experienced and so totally understand.

Your symptoms could be due to a number of Bowel Conditions as I’m sure you know so please try not to assume the worse. I agree that asking for a colonoscopy would be the best way forward.

Let us know how you get on Monday and take very good care, Kim :x::x:

Knicky

Thank you so much for your reply Kim.

I will try and push for a colonoscopy, hopefully the specialist won’t dismiss me based on the mri as I know this wouldn’t detect cancer. I have insurance so am going private so that I am seen quicker :x::x:

Lirio345

You are welcome @Knicky. Often these diagnostic tests such as scans are read together to obtain the fullest picture. With Bowel cancer a colonoscopy is usually the first step, followed by CT and/or PET and/or MRI if deemed necessary.

Keep busy this weekend and it will soon be Monday. I am sure you have thought of this but it is always worth writing down your questions in advance, take care, Kim :x::x:

Knicky

Morning everyone,

So I have my appointment today with the gastroenterologist and was already feeling so nervous! Especially since Saturday I’ve been having awful flare ups of pain in my lower left tummy/hip and into my leg.

Anyway I’m now in a full on worry flurry as have just felt that my lymph nodes are up in my groin area. I’ve never felt them before 😢

Lirio345

Good morning @Knicky, everyone on here will fully empathise with your nerves but you are very nearly at the stage of being able to discuss these symptoms with a Doctor. Please let us know how you get on, Kim :x::x::x:

marylou47a

@Knicky I know how you feel with questioning every little niggle! Just write them all down and make sure you tell the dr when you see them. Let us know how it goes- will be thinking of you :x::x:

Knicky

Thank you both so much for replying. I have seen the consultant who was lovely- well he had a good bedside manner whilst doing his checks.

He had a good feel up there, and then put an instrument up there, he also blew into it? Any ideas what this could have been? He couldn’t see anything other than a small tear.

He got me to have blood tests whilst there, and wants to do a colonoscopy which should be in about 2 weeks time. I have private health insurance so this is all through that.

I’m still very anxious as although I know it’s good to get checked, I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t feel the need to. Also I’m due on my period the day he said I might get the colonoscopy done, I have really heavy periods so am wondering if I’ll still be able to have it done? :x::x::x:

Lirio345

That’s great @Knicky, you are being very well looked after; please see the colonoscopy as gold standard double checking and as a good thing. I am guessing the gas was to inflate your bowel a little to help him see what was going on.

Anxiety is normal whilst going through these investigations and everyone on here can empathise with you having been through/going through something similar. Worrying won’t change anything so try to keep busy and tackle one day at a time (which is easy for me to say!)

On receipt of the colonoscopy paperwork you could maybe ring and ask about the situation vis-a-vis heavy periods, or alternatively if you know under which hospital this test is being carried out, you could ring the endoscopy department now to discuss. Take very good care, Kim :x::x:

Knicky

@Lirio345

Thank you so much for your reply. I will ask about my period when I have the date confirmed, if they say it’s ok I will be conflicted as to go ahead as I do bleed so heavy, but then I also want this seen to as soon as possible to find out what’s going on.

I am definitely going to try not to let the worry take over, it is my daughter’s birthday tomorrow so I must try and be good.

I was sure he would see a pile or two as that’s what hubby could see last week, and I guess part of me was hoping he’d see and blame them.

Any advice with regards to the colonoscopy welcome too, I’m nervous about it all but know the prep can be particularly horrible.

Thank you again for replying :x::x::x:

Lirio345

How lovely that is your daughter’s birthday tomorrow @Knicky - have a wonderful day!

Colonoscopies can be slightly uncomfortable, but that is why you should probably ask for sedation (you will still be awake) and explain how anxious you feel. The prep isn’t what anyone would choose but roll your sleeves up, get through it and remind yourself that it will be over. Maybe book a treat for afterwards (especially one involving food!)

There is a link below that may be of help, Kim :x::x:

www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/...oing-for-their-first-colonoscopy/

Knicky

Thank you so much, that’s so helpful.

I’ve just had my notes through and it was a rigid sigmoidoscopy that I had today. Also the colonoscopy can be booked for the 9th May I just need to check about my period :x::x:

marylou47a

@Knicky sounds like he is being very thorough which is great! I know it’s more waiting but at least you will have no other doubts niggling you as they will have checked every possibility!

Was the sigmoidoscopy OK? I think I’m having a flexible sigmoidoscopy when I go in- think it might be a bit more invasive than the rigid one but I’m not sure?

Hope you enjoy your daughters birthday and keep us posted on the colonoscopy. :x::x:

Knicky

@marylou47a
Thank you, I’m going to try and not get my anxiety get the better of me.

The sigmoidoscopy was actually fine, I didn’t even realise what it was haha just felt a little uncomfortable but nothing horrible.

Do you know when yours is scheduled for? I think the flexible shows more and is more detailed :x::x:

momentbymonent

@Knicky so glad that the gastro took you seriously and is putting you on the colonoscopy list. It's not pleasant but you'll be sedated so actually not that bad - the anxiety and waiting is the worst bit, and the colonoscopy cam give you proper answers. I noticed that you were concerned about your growing lymph nodes. If you read my previous posts, you'll see I had huge anxiety about mine. And that anxiety persisted after my operation. Surgeons and doctors all felt them, and looked at them on scans and they were fine (also told me that given where my tumour was, those nodes were highly unlikely to be affected). They definitely felt swollen to me though, so I've always out it down to some kind of stress response plus me being super vigilant about my body so I was constantly checking for lumps and bumps (having missed the really bloody big one originally..). I also have quite bumpy nodey groins it turns out 🤢🙂...

This period of worry in the run up to tests is just awful and no amount of knowing logically that worrying won't change the outcome good or bad will help. So as Kim says, take it day by day and try to keep busy, and we are all here for you while you wait. All fingers crossed, after 9 May, you can come back and tell us that you won't need to post here again - but until that point, we are here for you :x::x::x:

Knicky

@momentbymonent
Thank you so much for your reply. The gastro was very good today, and as much as I would have liked to be sent away and told not to worry, I know that the sensible thing is to be checked.

I mentioned my nodes to the gastro and he had a feel, he put in the notes on the letter which has already been emailed over-

On examination she is a slim lady with a soft, non-tender abdomen and no masses palpable. I can’t identify any pathological lymph nodes in the groins. She does have some small shotty nodes low down which I don’t think are of any significance. Digital rectal examination revealed a small asymptomatic posterior fissure which could of course account for her bleeding. There are no masses palpable and rigid sigmoidoscopy reveals normal mucosa. On the balance of her symptoms however I am organising some blood tests today to include inflammatory markers and we will organise a colonoscopy.

I will try and put it out my mind but seem to have worry waves.

Thank you so much again for your lovely message :x::x::x:

Knicky

Hi, I thought I’d pop on with an update.

I’ve just had my colonoscopy. The prep was worse than the colonoscopy itself, from my very first poo explosion I began losing lots of blood! This of course scared me even more. The bleeding actually got worse each time and I was actually only passing blood on some visits.

The surgeon took a few biopsies and removed a polyp, he also said he saw piles but they weren’t actively bleeding at the time. I have a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks so will find out more then. I’m still feeling anxious that there could be more going on, would they be able to tell me today? Or do I need to wait for the biopsy results? :x::x::x:

Lirio345

Hi @Knicky, well done for ticking off the colonoscopy experience. If something suspicious is seen during a colonoscopy the practice seems to be to tell the person there and then, either using the word ‘suspicious’ or ‘cancer’. I would be feeling reassured but obviously the biopsy results will hopefully completely rule out bowel cancer. Take care, Kim :x::x:

Knicky

Thank you so much @Lirio345 I am glad it’s out the way. Grateful to be able to eat and drink normally today and will try not let my anxious mind wander :x::x::x: