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.

ccn2018

Symptoms

Hi to whoever has taken the time to read this,

Driving myself mad whilst I’m waiting for my colonoscopy. Questioning every niggle and pain, googling my symptoms and frankly I’ve self diagnosed myself with IBD haha!

So, I’m wondering about symptoms. I have endometriosis which I think has disguised some of these symptoms for a while which is why I didn’t seek help from my GP. Struggling to figure out which symptoms might be gynae and which are bowel.

I have: loose, mucus movements with fluffy edges some days and am majorly constipated on other days. I went 5 days with terrible abdominal pain this week passing mucus, I thought I was constipated but when I finally managed to pass more than a 1cm of mush, it was a very long and thin soft stool so I wasn’t constipated. The pain hasn’t eased since having a movement. I can feel a palpable lump in my lower left bowel. The dr has felt this a few times and said it felt like stool but it seems to be there all the time. I’m wondering if I may have some sort of obstruction given that stool seems to ‘get stuck’ in the same place. I have pain under my ribs on the left, it feels like my muscles are being stretched, it radiates down my lower back and constantly feel constipated, like I’m never fully empty. Every time I urinate I’m having to wipe my bottom, haven’t had any leakage in my underwear etc but there is usually yellow mucus on the tissue. Not really sure what this is.

I’ve dropped down to 7.1 stone from 8 stone since January. Might not seem like a lot but for someone already small, it’s very noticeable and I definitely haven’t been trying to lose weight.

I’m so tired, but my bloods are normal. Perhaps just having three children and working full time…

Evenings are worst, my pain seems to be more intense of an evening. I’ve tried not to take painkillers for the last 6 days to see if that’s impacting my bowel/pain but it hasn’t changed a thing. I use a tens machine and hot water bottle daily to no avail. The pain is becoming more frequent, it’s daily and increasing in intensity. I get maybe a few hours each day where it’s moody uncomfortable and for the rest of the day I’m holding my stomach and praying it will pass.

Anyone else experienced the same symptoms? What was the outcome? I’m not sure it’s cancer but of course that’s a worry… I wonder if my bowel adhesions are twisting and have finally got stuck!

Will colonoscopy tell me what they can see there and then? Wondering if I should bring my husband or go alone…

Thanks for reading! Sorry it’s a long one!

Stay healthy :x:

kathyS

@ccn2018 hello and sorry to hear you are having such a horrible time! Symptoms-wise you are doing exactly the correct thing by getting a colonoscopy. It’s only a colonoscopy that can check your bowel properly- are you on the 2 week pathway? Hopefully you are and not too long to wait. When I went for mine in 2019 I didn’t really think it would be anything serious. Weirdly my GP had laughed and said it’s probably nothing you are only 48 but I suppose it could be cancer so must check! If you think it would be good for you to have someone with you if you get bad news then definitely bring your husband. My mum came with me to hospital but I didn’t want her in the room with me when they told me (they asked if I wanted them to call her) as she is profoundly deaf and felt this would make things worse for me-(having to re-explain to her what they were telling me)! Apparently it’s only 1 in 10 that are diagnosed with cancer so you have a good chance that it is something else that is causing your symptoms but it’s good to have a ‘cross that bridge when I come to it’ kind of attitude! In all honesty whatever is causing you pain will require treatment of some sort so this is the minimum of what you need - a diagnosis so hopefully you are on the right track to being on a pathway which will allow you to get the treatment you need whatever this is!!! All the best for a good outcome and please do let us know how you get on! :x::x::x:

Ali

@ccn2018, sorry to read about your symptoms, it must be difficult for you and the fact that you have lost weight too isn’t great. The most important thing is that you are getting a colonoscopy and I would push to try and get this asap if only to put your mind at rest. This should give you a result as to what the problem is but I am am sure your mind is playing havoc worrying about what it could be.
I found the colonoscopy fine ( I have had 2). The first I don’t remember anything about it but the second I was quite with it and watched on screen. The prep you have beforehand to clear your bowels is the worst part but again second time round I had picolax which was less volume to drink and much easier. Still did the job though. First time I had moviprep and it was the volume I had to drink that was difficult. I had a diagnosis straight away after the colonoscopy, a tumour in my lower bowel which was removed nearly a year ago and after 4 :x: chemo ( in case of spread) I am now back to ‘normal’ whatever that is! I do hope you have the colonoscopy soon and get results quickly. I would take your husband with you for a bit of moral support if nothing else. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Ali :x::x:

Baxter2

Good morning @ccn2018. I'm so sorry you're experiencing all this tummy trouble. I'm certain your very detailed account and colonoscopy will be really helpful in diagnosing whatever is causing all of these unpleasant symptoms. You're in one of those horrible land of 'limbo' waiting and wondering what's going on and nobody finds that easy. You have more than enough to keep you busy I'm sure with 3 children and a job so as far as is possible, I'd use my energy to focus on them for now. The date will be here before you know it! Assuming you already have a date?

Please keep us posted if you can?

Lots of love,

Karen 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

ccn2018

Thank you all for taking the time to respond, really appreciate it!

So my FIT was positive (60) on Monday. I was told by the patient booking line that I’d be booked in for colonoscopy by Friday 5th August but am yet to hear of an appointment. This is under the 2 week pathway.

It’s funny, my GP said I’m too young for bowel cancer too, then when my FIT came back he changed his stance and said it is possible although it’s unlikely. I’ve been back and forth to my doctors about this abdominal pain since December 2020, it was all considered gynae/diet related and I was given fibrogel, movicol, lactulose. I had an abdominal ultrasound which didn’t show any issues. It’s just gotten progressively more frequent and I’m now at the stage where it is all of the time. I no longer consider this to be gynae related which I assume is why the endometriosis ablation I had back in December 2021 has made no difference to my symptoms. I have that horrible niggle at the back of my mind telling me I’ve had these symptoms for 2 years and it may well be cancer. I’m generally very optimistic so trying to ignore that side of my brain but it’s getting harder.

For work I’m a Project Manager so I’m one for all the details and need to have a plan for the various options. This situation is driving me bonkers haha! I’ve looked into childcare options in the event that I need treatment, financial support if I end up off work and looked at the different treatments that are available if it’s cancer. Not sure what else I can do whilst I’m in limbo but I feel ready for whatever the diagnosis will be. That’s something I guess :) :x:

ccn2018

Sometimes I think that we just ‘know’ these things…. And sometimes I’m just paranoid and it turns out okay! Did any of you just have that feeling?!

diddym

Hi @ccn2018. Yes, I totally had those feelings before I had my recent colonoscopy. My symptoms were not quite the same as yours but had abdominal pain, lots of wind, bowel noises, going to the loo several times a day and rectal bleeding. After having a positive FIT was referred under the two week pathway. Had my colonoscopy just over two weeks ago and all they found was a 10mm polyp in my caecum which was removed and biopsy taken. Although I am still waiting for the histology results (which I was told could take 4 to 6 weeks) the consultant said he could see nothing of concern and my report says no follow up tests are required. I know I cannot be 100% sure that everything is ok until I receive my results but it’s looking positive. As I was told when I first posted here, these kinds of symptoms could be caused by so many different conditions but I know it’s hard not to think the worst. I am so glad I went to the gp and had the colonoscopy and I am glad you are, at least, now finally getting the colonoscopy you need. I do hope you get that date soon. Please let us know how you get on :x::x:

Lizsa

Hi @ccn2018 sorry you find yourself here. When are GPS going to stop saying "you're too young for cancer"!!! Surely by now they can see that young people are being diagnosed, hopefully Deborah james had helped with that! It makes me so angry that so many of us are fobbed off when 1 in 10 diagnosed are under 50. I was also told I was "so young" when I first got referred to the colorectal team and how it was probably "ibs" and gp said it was an internal hemorrhoid. I'm 40.
Anyway, try not to worry too much yet, there are plenty of other things that could be causing it and I find it's best to focus on each day at a time and the facts. The colonoscopy will give you an answer and ad others have said, whatever you have needs diagnosing and treating. Hopefully the wait won't be too much longer.
I took my husband with me for my colonoscopy. Mainly because I was having sedation and wanted him to look after me and drive me home. But I'm certainly glad he was there when I got the news I had rectal cancer. I'm not sure whether I had a "feeling" it was cancer. I was worried beforehand ad we all are, but I think I believed they would say it was colitis or something.
Anyway I wish you all the best with the colonoscopy. The procedure I found was OK, no pain with the sedation and I was still aware of what was happening on the screen.
Keep us posted and fingers crossed its all OK :x::x:

Mark McC

Hi @ccn2018

The wait for tests, and then results is the worst hit, so I feel for you, especially the thoughts that go through your head with every ache and tweak.

Avoid the googleverse, I scared myself with self diagnosis which o leg made my anxiety worse.

As for the colonoscopy. I honestly thought it would be constipation or something antibiotics would sort, and my consultant doing it was pretty laid back, until the ‘hmmm that’s not good, we’ll take a biopsy.’ Afterwards they took me into an office with a nurse and said ‘we’ll just get your wife’. So I had an inkling at that point. I was told that it’s probably cancer, but we can’t be 100% until the CT and MRI.

The colonoscopy itself is painless, take the sedation to relax you. The worst bit is the prep to clear you out beforehand.

Good luck.

ccn2018

I’m feeling so anxious and so deflated. I’m in pain everyday, it’s getting progressively worse and having an urgent referral sort of made me feel a sense of relief. I just had a call from the patient booking line offering me an appointment with a GI consultant for 17th August, that’s 3 weeks since my referral. She then said a colonoscopy/scan would be 1-2 weeks after that. Is this the norm?! Was I being completely unrealistic in expecting to have been seen within 2 weeks? I’m so stressed with this whole situation 😢

ccn2018

Okay now I have a text saying I have an appointment with a colorectal surgeon on 9th… is this on top of the GI consultant on 17th!? Seems a bit premature given I haven’t had any other tests yet?! I have a private MRI tomorrow (pelvic scan due to adhesions/endometriosis) and wondering if this might pick something up if it’s there… :x:

Baxter2

Hello again @ccn2018. It's difficult to second guess this but it's reassuring that in a few short weeks, you should have a better idea of what is causing these unpleasant symptoms. I know it's so hard, but I think your best bet is to keep yourself busy busy and tick the days off one by one. It's much easier said than done I know.

Sending lots of love your way,

Karen 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

louise28

im sorry about your worry @ccn2018 i know its easy for me to say but try not to worry. a week or two here and there makes little difference. I had quite a long wait for a colonscopy, due to waiting lists and it being non urgent so I think this is very good that your concerns are being taken seriously. You will find IF it is cancer, things move fast after that in particular.

It's hard to know what these appts are - can you ring and ask? It is possible that you'll speak to a colorectal specialist on 9th and they will ask questions etc before proceeding with a colonscopy. That can be the case sometimes. The MRI may show something but it would depend which area is being scanned and I wouldnt rely on it for diagnosing something else. If the test is looking at womb/ovaries, it may be a detailed MRI of that area, not other organs etc. The only way to test for bowel cancer is a colonscopy - that would show a tumour etc, then scans can show whether it is localised or spread. Usually a CT.

bettyb1987

Hi @ccn2018 I just wanted to pop on here to give you a virtual hug, you poor thing having these symptoms. I'm so glad you're having the tests soon to diagnose whatever this is that's causing them. You've had some sound advice already above but the one thing I would reiterate is to stay off Google as much as possible. Every single one of us here has probably fallen down the late night Google worm hole and all it does is increase anxiety and doesn't change any outcome or make the results come quicker. I really hope you get some answers soon, the waiting is the worst. Lots of love and please stay in touch! Betty :x::x::x:

ccn2018

I called the hospital about my Pelvic MRI and they have postponed the scan. They have arranged for a private consultant to call me on Thursday afternoon, to discuss my symptoms and extend the MRI to include my abdomen. They are hoping I can still have the MRI done this week. If anything I just hope it puts my mind at ease and shows that there isn’t a giant tumour in my bowel causing an obstruction! There definitely is something though…. 😂 :x:

ccn2018

Today the symptoms are horrible, I want to scream at the top of my lungs although I’m not sure it’ll help 😅 I’ve had two bowel movements today, both easy to pass but covered in orange mucus. This afternoon the pain in my lower left side and centre of my lower abdomen has spread to my back and down my legs. I feel like I have a lot of pressure in my rectum but there’s nothing there. Last night was the same, I resorted to taking tramadol which has just left me feeling drowsy today. Currently using my tens machine and hot water bottle but I’m going to have to resort to more painkillers. Does anyone else have this? I don’t know if this is the return of my endometriosis but it’s awful.

I have my MRI rebooked for Sunday morning, hope it shows something!!! :x:

diddym

Hi @ccn2018. Just wondering how you got on with your scan this morning. Also, how are you feeling now?

ccn2018

Hi,

No news I’m afraid, should have the results tomorrow or Thursday. Had a telephone consultation today and the repeated my fit test had a high amount of blood, my calprotectin is 27 which is within range and said it’s reassuring that my iron levels are okay. That said my symptoms persist so they are going to get me in to have a look in the next two weeks. I await a call! :x:

diddym

Hi@ccn2018. Sorry to hear you are still suffering and waiting! It must seem like forever for you. I really hope they get you in soon so they can find out what’s wrong and start making you feel better. :x::x::x: